Team Science

The two projects that have been responsible for building LAGOS are based on a solid foundation of team science that includes the philosophy that high-performing collaborative research teams are not born, but carefully built and maintained. There are two strategies for developing our research teams that we have used in our project work that we describe below. In addition, because there were few guidelines available to us at the beginning of our first project, we have also published in this general area to help contribute to the literature of team science and

(1)  Teamwork exercises: At each of our annual all-project participant workshops, we conduct teamwork exercises that have fed into the establishment of standards of behavior (i.e., team norms). Such explicit team norms can create clear expectations among team members, which can increase levels of trust and maximize benefits for all team members. See our article that describes many examples of such exercises in the supplementary materials: Cheruvelil et al. 2014.

(2) Written team policies: The above team norms should be written as team policies for important team practices such as data sharing, co-authorship, and others. We have found that these policies are ever-evolving, and that sometimes surprising conversations occur during policy development, especially among scientists of different disciplines and career-stage. Therefore, these policies should be viewed as living documents that change over time to reflect changing team membership and project goals. See each of our projects for their policies as well as others available online from other teams, such as the Operating Principles and Procedures document developed for the Global Lakes Ecological Observation Network (GLEON). CSI-Limnology team policies are here, and Continental Limnology team policies are here.


Diagram depicting the influence of team member diversity and interpersonal skills on team functioning and communication, all of which influence research outcomes. Each of the five major categories of individual team member and entire team traits is strongly tied to all others; therefore, all possible arrows among categories are not depicted for the sake of clarity. For each category, supporting literature for the hypothesized relationships between the category and research outcomes for high‐performing collaborative research teams is provided. Examples are shown for each category, but the lists are not exhaustive. From Cheruvelil, K.S., P.A. Soranno, K.C. Weathers, P.C. Hanson, S. Goring, C.T. Filstrup, and E.K. Read. 2014. Creating and maintaining high-performing collaborative research teams: the importance of diversity and interpersonal skills. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. 12(1):31-38. doi: 10.1890/130001



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