The new AuthorAID forums (forums.authoraid.info/) have been developed in response to requests from the global research community for help in finding research collaborators.
With the global research environment becoming ever more complex and demanding, establishing external and international collaborations is rapidly turning into a key skill for researchers.
Through AuthorAID, we have heard about the increasingly important need for more networks and better linkages between researchers, and particularly those looking for international collaborators on specific and unique issues. In a survey we carried out in 2017, the majority of AuthorAID researchers (95%) identified that they need help and support in finding collaborators. They want to collaborate with a wide range of other researchers and stakeholders, both in-country and internationally, in their own subject area and in multi-disciplinary work, and they are looking for collaborators with skills in writing, applying for funding, and international experience.
Respondents also mentioned that there needed to be more space for thematic discussions around collaboration topics, and a more interactive platform that allowed researchers to post details of their research and/or funding, and ask for collaborators.
To build on this demand for collaboration, AuthorAID has launched a new forum area with a ‘Research Collaboration Space’ that offers an opportunity for researchers to post details of their research projects and put out a request for collaborators. This allows for more public interaction and networking around research and funding opportunities.
You can find the following forums at forums.authoraid.info:
- Research Collaboration Space – where members are encouraged to post details of their research projects and request/look for collaborators.
- Funding, scholarships and opportunities – an area for sharing and discussion of funding opportunities.
- AuthorAID Discussion – A forum for discussion of research skills, publishing, communication and related topics, and where members can ask for support and answers.
There are also sub-forums specifically for librarians, women researchers, journal editors and Spanish-language speakers.
Members can also start optional private discussions through AuthorAID’s existing mentoring and collaboration messaging system.
We hope this new forum will provide better support to academics and researchers in our community who often struggle to find collaborators and funding opportunities for their research projects.
The importance of international collaboration in research
So why collaborate?
- Finding collaborators can help access new and innovative approaches to problem-solving, according to AuthorAID mentor and facilitator Professor Richard De Grijs: “It is a great way to establish a worldwide network of colleagues with a variety of backgrounds—scientific, cultural, or otherwise.”
- International collaboration can also offer practical benefits, according to Professor Adetokunbo O. Lucas, a Nigerian Professor at the Harvard School of Public Health, who emphasises that it can be a “valuable mechanism for advancing knowledge and strengthening research capacity. It makes modern research tools available to institutions and countries that would not normally be able to provide them from their own resources.”
- Finally, a recent PLOS One paper by Ashkan Ebadi and Andrea Schiffauerova highlights the crucial role of research collaboration and networking for securing research funding. Building your collaboration network is perhaps even more important than how many publications and citations you have!
It is our hope that the new forums provide this space and potential to seed discussion around research collaborations that can attract funding, develop innovative ideas, and solve global development problems.