Daniel Lemire's blog

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Is collaboration correlated with productivity?

8 thoughts on “Is collaboration correlated with productivity?”

  1. Daniel Haran says:

    I can’t access the paper, and won’t pay $34 (!) to read it.

    I’m curious though, how do they measure productivity?

  2. @Daniel Publications==productivity.

  3. Maybe they’re collaborating for the wrong reasons – prestige, instead of results.

  4. @jarche Irrespective of prestige and productivity, collaboration is a great way to get large grants.

  5. jeremy says:

    The grant under which I did my PhD was a US (NSF) + UK (JISC) collaboratively funded, collaboratively executed endeavor. I feel that we were wildly productive, not only in terms of research output, but also in the fact that we were able to use part of the grant to create a brand new conference that is still going strong after 10 years (ISMIR — see http://www.ismir.net/texts/Byrd02.html).

    I think it also benefited both sides of the collaboration, in that the researchers on each side of the pond (US/UK) had complementary skill sets. Our research area was music information retrieval, and the UK team brought the digital signal processing expertise, while the US team brought the information retrieval expertise. We complemented each other, and were more productive because of that.

    But I am just one data point.

  6. Seems to me that productivity is indeed *correlated* with collaboration. You’re not likely to find a causal relationship, but any time you bring together expertise from complementary disciplines in a non-adversarial situation, you’re increasing your chances of finding something novel because you’re looking in the space between established (and thus well explored) disciplines.

  7. Nicholas Ampazis says:


    To my opinion “Publications!=productivity”

    For example, for the last couple of years I’ve been working on the Netflix dataset and in the process I’ve read dozens of papers, implemented hundreds of algorithms (in my own derived programming framework so as to efficiently process the huge dataset) and developed some novel ones myself. But if you track down my publications record during the last two years you’ll notice a decrease compared to previous years, simply because I did not have the time to right down the corresponding papers and have them published. But what does this mean? That I’ve been unproductive all this time? I believe not. So productivity is not always necessarily correlated to published work and I’d be surprised if that is the only criterion that the authors consider in their paper.

  8. Sure, agreed, but I was asked how the paper defines productivity.

    I don’t know how to measure my own “research productivity” in an interesting way.