Teamwork is more and more common in modern science. In this context, the effect of different characteristics of a team on its research performance has been widely studied. Various factors such as team size, number of countries involved, universities, disciplines and workload distribution have been found to have a significant contribution to the role of the document in the advancement of science.
The question of how the freshness of the team influences their research performance has not, however, been systematically studied. A research team can be made up of researchers who have never worked together before, which translates into team freshness. On the contrary, the authors of an article who have already collaborated can be considered as an old team. To date, little is known about the effect of team freshness on the advancement of science.
In an article recently published in Human behavior of nature, Network scientists Prof. An Zeng, Peking Normal University and Prof. Shlomo Havlin, Physics Department, Bar-Ilan University, and their colleagues discuss the effect of team freshness on the originality and multidisciplinary impact of the work produced, by systematically investigating previous collaborative relationships between team members. They develop the concept of an article’s team freshness and define it as the fraction of team members who have not previously collaborated with other team members. Their study reveals that articles from newer teams are much more effective than articles from older teams in creating studies of greater originality and greater multidisciplinary impact. The effect is even greater in larger teams. The results also suggest that having new team members is more important than new collaborative relationships in increasing the originality and diversity of impact of the resulting articles. Finally, they studied the effect of the career freshness of team members before joining the team, finding that the younger the team, the greater the originality and the diversity of impact of the studies produced. . In short, the search for a new team is linked to better creativity.
The results of this article may have practical applications to stimulate more original and multidisciplinary research. Donors and policymakers could encourage scientists to form new research teams. Scientists themselves should also seize opportunities to interact with new colleagues for future collaboration as a new team.
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Material provided by Bar-Ilan University. Note: Content can be changed for style and length.