Collaboration refers to the process of two or more individuals or organizations working together.

In the context of science and research, there are a number of drivers for increased levels of collaboration, including at least the following two.

Firstly, if science is a process for producing new knowledge, then new science must build on an increasing stock of existing knowledge. New scientific endeavour will therefore become increasingly complex in the future. Because individuals and organisations can only understand a decreasing fraction of existing knowledge, it means that greater specialisation will become natural. In this environment – of increasing complexity, and increasing specialisation, there will be a need to work together with others to generate new research and knowledge.

Secondly, the costs of collaboration are decreasing with the advancement of new information and communication technologies. The current wave of advances in ICT, since the 1990s, through technologies such as the internet, email, long distance calls, video conferencing, has reduced the cost of moving ideas. Previously, ideas were much harder to move – this involved shipping writings or sending experts. Now, ideas can move freely and quickly and almost costlessly. The next improvement in information and communication technologies has been referred to as ‘teleprescence’ – a very advanced version of skype / holograms / videoconferencing¬† – that will make collaboration even easier.

What are other drivers for increased collaboration?