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Team Science Learning Module


The Team Science Learning Module was created in partnership with the integrated Translational Health Research Institute of Virginia (iTHRIV), University of Virginia’s Office of the Vice President for Research and the Environmental Research Institute. iTHRIV is funded by the National Center for Advancing Translational Science of the National Institutes of Health Awards UL1TR003015/ KL2TR003016.  Contents of this website do not necessarily reflect the views of the institution and/or the National Institutes of Health.

Special thanks to Belinda E. Hernandez, M.Ed., UVA School of Education and Human Development for researching and writing module content.   We are also thankful to the researchers, editors, and evaluators who donated their time, expertise, and knowledge to this project.  

Citation and Copyright

Please cite using the following format:
integrated Translational Health Research Institute of Virginia (iTHRIV). (n.d.). Team Science Learning Module.

This license allows reusers to distribute, remix, adapt, and build upon the material in any medium or format for noncommercial purposes only, and only so long as attribution is given to the creator. 

It includes the following elements:
BY  – Credit must be given to the creator
NC  – Only noncommercial uses of the work are permitted

Credit & Acknowledgement

The traditional approach to evaluating academic productivity, such as for promotion and tenure reviews, has historically favored the single investigator model because it was easy to assign credit when only one investigator was listed as author on publications or grants. As the field of team science has advanced, a more nuanced approach is needed to reflect the numerous contributions of various collaborators across fields with different norms of assigning credit. Without consideration of these barriers it may be challenging to engage graduate students, post-docs, and junior investigators in collaborative scholarly work (Bennett & Gadlin, 2012). These considerations are also necessary to properly recognize and value the unique contributions of community, industry, and other non-academic partners.  University and healthcare system leaders, promotion committee members, and mentors need to shift norms and policies related to promotion structures to support the career development of researchers who are participating in transdisciplinary teams. Changing how scientists reward and recognize team science and collaborative research will change the culture of promotion, tenure, and recognition more generally, including recognition of community-engaged research.  

Fortunately, a number of tools have emerged over the past several years to help with this process. For example, the multiple PI role on grants, ORCID iD (Open Researcher and Contributor ID), and CRediT Contributor Role Taxonomy enable greater utility for describing and assigning contributions and authorship. These tools are particularly helpful as the number of multi-authored publications and scholarly works have increased significantly in recent years (Brand et al., 2015). The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) also provides a helpful set of guidelines which aid authors in determining the type of contributions that qualify for authorship (see below).  The American Psychological Association (APA) Authorship Determination Scorecard is a checklist designed to aid contributors in deciding if they deserve authorship on the research project and to aid authorship-worthy contributors in determining the order of authorship.  

Many journals are now requesting that authors provide details on specific contributions for each author. Several fields are now assigning greater significance for first, last/senior, and corresponding author. Even the reformatting of the NIH biosketch in recent years to focus on contributions and roles in the team over sheer number of publications further emphasizes collaboration and specific scientific contributions to science. In addition to indicating papers co-authored with trainees on their CV, researchers prioritizing community-engaged research may be encouraged to indicate community-based co-authors or practitioner-focused products. With regard to promotion and tenure review, many review committees will accept letters from research team members who can provide additional insight on roles and contributions of the candidate in the team science process, as such contributions may not be clear through authorship or investigator status alone. Together, these efforts illustrate ways in which investigators can receive recognition for their collaborative work, and greater acknowledgement and recognition within team science.

Take the Next Step

Find colleagues to collaborate with, form a team, join a team, or take time to learn about team science.  You can make a difference. 

If you would like to provide feedback or suggest a resource for the Team Science Learning Module, please email

Claude Moore Health Sciences Library
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Charlottesville, VA 22908 (Directions)

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