Interdisciplinary collaboration from diverse science teams can produce significant outcomes

Publication Type:

Journal Article


PLoS ONE, Volume 17, Issue 11 (2022)


<p>Scientific teams are increasingly diverse in discipline, international scope and demographics. Diversity has been found to be a driver of innovation but also can be a source of interpersonal friction. Drawing on a mixed-method study of 22 scientific working groups, this paper presents evidence that team diversity has a positive impact on scientific output (i.e., the number of journal papers and citations) through the mediation of the interdisciplinarity of the collaborative process, as evidenced by publishing in and citing more diverse sources. Ironically these factors also seem to be related to lower team member satisfaction and perceived effectiveness, countered by the gender balance of the team. Qualitative data suggests additional factors that facilitate collaboration, such as trust and leadership. Our findings have implications for team design and management, as team diversity seems beneficial, but the process of integration can be difficult and needs management to lead to a productive and innovative process.</p>

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