Examining the differences between scientific team types

2015-08-18T14:22:09Z (GMT) by Denis Agniel Griffin Weber
Introduction: There may be fundamental differences between the way that scientific research gets done by teams of different types. We seek to understand the differences between teams of three different types: biomedical teams, non-biomedical teams, and interdisciplinary teams. In particular, we are interested in examining the impact of team type on translation into clinical practice. We used the Scopus bibliographic database of over 54 million publications and over 28 million authors to explore these areas. 

Defining team types: We defined a researcher as a biomedical researcher if over 50% of their publications were identified as having a PubMed ID in Scopus. Then biomedical teams were defined as teams with all biomedical researchers, and non-biomedical teams were defined as those with all non-biomedical researchers. Interdisciplinary teams were those that had a mix of biomedical and non-biomedical researchers. 

Team type characteristics: We examined the behavior of each team type. Publications were classified by Scopus according to the subject matter of the journal in which they were published. We identified which subject areas were most likely to publish research by interdisciplinary teams. We also examined the breakdown of team types by number of authors, finding that the majority of publications with fewer authors were non-biomedical, but as the number of authors increases articles tend to be more biomedical and interdisciplinary. More than 540 million citations were available to be analyzed, and we examined the citation rate for each article. Biomedical teams were more likely to be cited regardless of the subject matter or the number of authors. 

Measuring translation impact by team type: We finally measure the impact of team type on translation according to the Triangle of Biomedicine, which maps the 22 million biomedical journal articles in PubMed to a triangle, whose corners represent research related to animals, cells and molecules, and humans. We examined where on the triangle articles of each team type fell on the Triangle according to the subject matter of the article (see figure). We also modeled the impact of team type on the time until translation.