Unit Support, Past Experience and Researcher Attitude for Intra-institutional Research Collaboration: Survey Study in a US Doctoral/Research University

Intra-institutional collaboration is an often neglected type of research collaboration from the literature. This study aimed to understand what factors contribute to this type of collaboration as well as what types of factors can impact negatively the likelihood of this collaboration. We deployed a survey in a US research institution and measured for factors relating to environmental, past researcher behavior and personal research characteristics. We developed a model that demonstrates how these sets variables influence intra-institutional collaboration and developed recommendations for units. Unit support for collaboration and past behavior were found to impact intra-institutional collaboration. Additionally, researcher’s attitudes toward sharing knowledge and resources were also found to impact the likelihood for collaboration within institution.

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Correspondence to Michail Tsikerdekis.

Appendix

Appendix

Independent variables were measured using a 5-point Likert scale, numeric scale as well as categorical data.

Environmental factors

  1. 1.

    Do you experience difficulties in finding potential collaborators on campus? (5 = Almost Always and 1 = Almost never)

  2. 2.

    Would you say your current unit supports within-unit collaborations? (5 = Strongly agree and 1 = Strongly Disagree)

  3. 3.

    Do you experience difficulties in finding potential collaborators on campus? (5 = Almost always and 1 = Almost never)

Past researcher behavior

  1. 1.

    In what percentage of past collaborative efforts did you initiate contact with individuals whom you had never collaborated? **Failed attempts should be included; please skip if you have neither collaborated nor attempted collaborating (5 = Between 76 and 100% of attempts and 1 = None of my attempts)

  2. 2.

    In the past, about what percentage of your research projects involved collaboration with others? (5 = Between 76 and 100% of my research projects and 1 = None of my research projects)

  3. 3.

    Among all the above research collaboration, about what percent was WITHIN YOUR INSTITUTION (including former and current institutions)? (5 = Between 76% and 100% of my research projects and 1 = None of my research projects)

Personal researcher characteristics

  1. 1.

    Do you hold a joint appointment in a different unit at UK [University of Kentucky] or have you worked for a different unit at UK [University of Kentucky]? (Y/N)

  2. 2.

    Does your research area value sole scholarship?

    • __Yes

    • __No, but they don’t devalue it either

    • __No, they do not value sole scholarship at all I don’t know

  3. 3.

    How long have you worked in your current position?

    • __Less than one year

    • __1–2 years

    • __3–4 years

    • __5–6 years

    • __More than 6 years

  4. 4.

    Please list any languages (up to four) in which you are fluent (in reading and writing), with your primary daily used language(s) listed first. (open-ended question)

  5. 5.

    Do you freely and openly share your own research ideas and projects with your colleagues on campus? (5 = Almost always and 1 = Almost never)

Whether a researcher was experiencing difficulties in collaborating also became a dependent variable in later models. Additional dependent variables utilized in this study were the following:

  1. 1.

    Do you prefer working collaboratively to working alone? (5 = Almost always and 1 = Almost never)

  2. 2.

    Where are you PRIMARILY looking for collaboration in the next few years? (Check all that apply.)

    • __Within your unity

    • __Within your university, but outside your unit

    • __Other university

    • __Out of university community (community outreach)

    • __International

  3. 3.

    If you have identified a UK [University of Kentucky] researcher through his or her work (not through personal contacts), will you contact him/her for potential collaboration. (5 = Strongly agree, 1 = Strongly disagree)

Additional open-ended questions used in this study were the following:

  1. 1.

    Please list a few reasons for why you prefer working alone or why you prefer working collaboratively.

  2. 2.

    In your opinion, what are the obstacles for establishing collaboration at UK [University of Kentucky]? Please list the greatest obstacles first.

Further variables that were obtained by combining the dataset with institutional data were the following: Academic Rank, Tenure Status and Sex.

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Tsikerdekis, M., Yu, N. Unit Support, Past Experience and Researcher Attitude for Intra-institutional Research Collaboration: Survey Study in a US Doctoral/Research University. High Educ Policy 31, 559–581 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1057/s41307-017-0071-7

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Keywords

  • research
  • collaboration
  • academic
  • university
  • support
  • experience