Team Work

Every time a researcher's work is analyzed in Romanian universities, the question "how many papers did he/she write alone?" is eventually asked. And, if the researcher didn't write many papers alone, there are at least two or three persons that (at least) suggest that the work of the analyzed researcher has no proven value. Why this? I'd say that the main reason is that in Romanian research the team work was never encouraged; even the idea of sharing your ideas with someone is often considered as a mistake: what if that persons steals your work? Moreover, many Romanian researchers think that every paper written by more than one author was written actually by only one of the authors, while the others are basically added to the list from different non-science-related reasons. What's really stupid is that it comes up to situations when a paper written alone by a researcher, published in an invisible journal, is considered more valuable than a paper with more authors, but published in a good journal. As a final remark in this respect, note that the Romanian Council for Research rewards the papers published in journals with impact; however, the prize for a paper with only one author is greater than the prize for a paper with more than one author (and I am not talking here about the amount that is awarded to each author, but the total amount awarded for the paper). This is a terrible way to encourage the development of research teams, research centers and, in one word, team work.

The great majority of my papers are written in collaboration with other researchers. In most of the cases, one of the authors had an idea, and then the others contributed in solving the problems arising from that idea, came up with new ideas improving the initial one, and so on. I think that this is probably the best way of doing research (i.e., being part of a team), and I cannot imagine myself working alone, without sharing with my team mates the (partial) results I obtain. I am decided to stick to this attitude, although it may become harmful at a given moment (when I will try to advance in the professional hierarchy, or when I will apply for a national grant, etc.). Nevertheless, I will encourage my students to have the same attitude: work in teams, share knowledge. After all, what better way can you imagine to attract a student in the world of research, than challenging him/her to solve problems related to some of your ideas, working alongside him/her to develop these ideas, and, finally, writing a paper with him/her? I am sure that a student treated in this way will soon come to you with new ideas, and new problems.

1 comment:

Cezara said...

Strange! Although the university fights against the dust laid-down on the furnitures and on the people, although the research area is in terrible lack of employees, nobody observes that one of the main causes of these problems is the reduced presence of research teams.

Probably, the famous expression "together we are stronger" ("unde's doi puterea creste") was forgotten long time ago. However, it seems to me that if you continue on the road you have chosen, you are going to become an internal node in the scientific genealogy tree, while some people will keep their position as leaves...and...as we all know....during the autumn the leaves fall....