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Journal Article:

Author(s) :


Chompalov, I., Genuth, J., & Shrum, W.

Date of Publication :



Article Title :


The organization of scientific collaborations

Journal Title :


Research Policy

Volume ID :



Pages(s) :



Abstract :


Based on empirical analysis of 53 multi-institutional collaborations in physics and allied sciences, we find that generalizations about the essentially informal and collective social organization of collaborative projects in science stem largely from a narrow analysis of high-energy particle physics experiments. Cluster analysis reveals that the variety of organizational formats of collaborative projects can be grouped into four types, ranging from bureaucratic to participatory. E xcept for particle physics, which is overwhelmingly participatory and non-bureaucratic, the membership of the other three types is mostly cross-disciplinary. The four-fold typology discriminates collaborative projects with respect to their technological practices. The structure of leadership is related to the character of interdependence in data acquisition, analysis, and communication of results: greater interdependence leads to decentralization of leadership and less formalization. We conclude that extrapolation of the organizational characteristics of particle physics to scientific collaborations in general is unjustified.

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