Measuring quality and outcomes of research collaborations: An integrative review
Although the science of team science is no longer a new field, the measurement of team science and its standardization remain in relatively early stages of development. To describe the current state of team science assessment, we conducted an integrative review of measures of research collaboration quality and outcomes.
Collaboration measures were identified using both a literature review based on specific keywords and an environmental scan. Raters abstracted details about the measures using a standard tool. Measures related to collaborations with clinical care, education, and program delivery were excluded from this review.
We identified 44 measures of research collaboration quality, which included 35 measures with reliability and some form of statistical validity reported. Most scales focused on group dynamics. We identified 89 measures of research collaboration outcomes; 16 had reliability and 15 had a validity statistic. Outcome measures often only included simple counts of products; publications rarely defined how counts were delimited, obtained, or assessed for reliability. Most measures were tested in only one venue.
Although models of collaboration have been developed, in general, strong, reliable, and valid measurements of such collaborations have not been conducted or accepted into practice. This limitation makes it difficult to compare the characteristics and impacts of research teams across studies or to identify the most important areas for intervention. To advance the science of team science, we provide recommendations regarding the development and psychometric testing of measures of collaboration quality and outcomes that can be replicated and broadly applied across studies.