Title Collaboration on a grand scale: negotiating big science Degree of recognition National Media name/outlet Times Higher Education Media type Web Country/Territory United Kingdom Date 28/04/17 Description Professor Swanton’s assessment is backed up by Caroline Dive, senior group leader at the CRUK Manchester Institute and professor of pharmacology at the University of Manchester, who, besides being involved with TRACERx, runs her own team of 80 people.
Professor Dive acknowledged running a mega collaboration “can be quite stressful”, but said there is a real “corporate spirit” involved in such projects.
“You have to have really good personal and communication skills just to get the ground rules of the collaboration worked out,” she said. “I still think the most important thing, when you’re assembling a mega-collaborative team, [is that] it’s very clear why each member of that team is there, and it’s a win-win for everybody: everybody has something they bring to the table and take away.
“Clearly, managing a little project with just two or three people is so much easier. Then you’ve got to deal with the outputs: being fair on authorship, making sure everyone’s signed up to the manuscripts – all of those things in big groups are always much more difficult. But they’re often more rewarding because you can do big science in big collaborations.”
Individual credit is an issue Professor Swanton also noted, and is something he takes very seriously. Professor Dive said there were “regular meetings with the TRACERx teams”, where this is discussed.
“We’ve worked really hard to make sure every TRACERx investigator nationally is rewarded with authorship – from the principal investigators on individual sites through to the tissue collectors who’ve been at the coal face managing the large quantities of tumour material,” Professor Swanton said. “There are a lot of unsung heroes out there, and we’ve done our best to identify [them]…and each one has been named on the two papers. We have 285 authors on the two papers – that’s unprecedented. I’ve never had a paper with that number of authors before, but that’s a reflection of quite how much effort was involved to get to this stage.”
Producer/Author John Elmes URL https://www.timeshighereducation.com/news/collaboration-on-a-grand-scale-negotiating-big-science Persons Caroline Dive
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