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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Davis, California » Western Human Nutrition Research Center » Immunity and Disease Prevention Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #337598

Research Project: Assessing the Impact of Diet on Inflammation in Healthy and Obese Adults in a Cross-Sectional Phenotyping Study and a Longitudinal Intervention Trial

Location: Immunity and Disease Prevention Research

Title: The collaborative effect of scientific meetings: a study of the international milk genomics consortium

Author
item KWOK, ERIC - University Of California
item PORTER, MATTHEW - University Of California
item KORF, IAN - University Of California
item PASIN, GONCA - California Dairy Research Foundation
item GERMAN, BRUCE - University Of California
item Lemay, Danielle

Submitted to: PLoS One
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/26/2018
Publication Date: 8/22/2018
Citation: Kwok, E., Porter, M., Korf, I., Pasin, G., German, B.J., Lemay, D.G. 2018. The collaborative effect of scientific meetings: a study of the international milk genomics consortium. PLoS One. 10.1371. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0201637.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0201637

Interpretive Summary: Collaboration among scientists has a major influence on scientific progress. Scientific meetings can promote collaboration, but it is unclear to what extent they do. To evaluate the effects of scientific meetings on collaboration and progress, we conducted a case study on the International Milk Genomics Consortium (IMGC). The IMGC holds an annual symposium in which milk scientists from around the world meet to present their research and to network with other scientists. There is no implied or actual funding for research within the IMGC apart from speaker funds to travel to the annual meeting so this case study represented a unique opportunity to study scientific interaction without the bias of research funding. In our study, we analyzed the effectiveness of the IMGC in facilitating collaboration and productivity in a community of milk scientists. Using the number of times scientists publish papers together as a measure of collaboration, our analysis revealed that scientists in the IMGC are associated with more collaboration than scientists not in the IMGC. We also evaluated the scientific progress of consortium members by analyzing how often they publish papers and how often those papers are cited by other scientists. We found that IMGC attendees, in addition to being more collaborative, are also more productive and influential than are non-IMGC scientists. The results of our study suggest that IMGC symposia increased interactions among disparate scientists, encouraged new collaborators and increased productivity, exemplifying the positive effect of scientific meetings on both scientific collaboration and progress.

Technical Abstract: Collaboration among scientists has a major influence on scientific progress. Such collaboration often results from scientific meetings, where scientists gather to discuss their research and to meet potential collaborators. Competitive funding, however, imposes an important bias that confounds attempts to evaluate the role of scientific inquiry in collaboration decisions and outcomes. To evaluate the effects of scientific meetings on collaboration and progress independent of funding bias, we conducted a case study on the International Milk Genomics Consortium (IMGC). The IMGC holds an annual symposium in which milk scientists from around the world meet to present their research and to network with other scientists. There is no implied or actual funding for research within the IMGC apart from speaker funds to travel to the annual meeting. In our study, we analyzed the effectiveness of the IMGC in facilitating collaboration and productivity in a community of milk scientists. To conduct such an analysis, we evaluated the impact of the IMGC at the consortium level and at the scientist level. Using the number of co-authorships on published papers as a measure of collaboration, our analysis revealed that scientists in the IMGC are associated with more collaboration than scientists not in the IMGC. In addition, we evaluated the scientific progress of consortium members by analyzing publication rate and article impact. We found that IMGC attendees, in addition to being more collaborative, are also more productive and influential than are non-IMGC scientists. The results of our study suggest that an IMGC symposium increased interactions among disparate scientists, encouraged new collaborators and increased productivity, exemplifying the positive effect of scientific meetings on both scientific collaboration and progress.