Ian Mulvany

December 25, 2022

How team composition affects science.


This talk from James Evans from 2019 is a great synopsis of the findings of his group about how small disconnected teams are much more valuable for science than large tightly connected teams. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=XSAlAcGwW8c&t=950s&pp=2AG2B5ACAQ%3D%3D

It’s an insight that rings true - more independent investigation of reality returns a higher likelihood of getting our understanding of reality correct. The kicker is that this is individually more risky for the teams involved. That also makes it harder for these smaller teams to get funding and for funders to take bets on them. It’s also harder for them to generate citations and find favourable reviewers. 

How might we expand our editorial processes to be able to smooth the publication of works from teams like this? Sone indication of how a paper and authoring team fits in the wider landscape may help, but we don’t have any indications line this at present in our peer review systems.