When a project involves more than a single researcher, collaborative planning is essential to ensuring that the project benefits from the expertise and insights everyone brings and that the goals are well aligned with the resources available. Shared project planning helps ensureĀ 
  • clarity (clear understanding of the project parameters — resources available, project goals and desired outcomes, team member roles and responsibilities, and limitations)
  • communication (written documentation of the plan that serves as a reference and reminder throughout the project as well as a check against scope creep)
  • commitment (ensure that individual goals are sufficiently aligned with team goals, helping promote engagement and investment in the project)

As part of ensuring commitment, discuss at the outset of a scholarly project individuals’ roles and how they may be compensated or acknowledged for their work. For instance, who may be listed as authors in resulting publications? How will the roles and contributions of non-authors be communicated? Who will own or manage the resulting data, tools, and/or published works and how will others involved in the project be able to continue to work with and adapt these?

Talk first with potential collaborators, to clearly understand what individuals can bring to the project, their stake in the resulting work, and roles and rewards that support their engagement with the project. Once you have a shared understanding, document this agreement and save it in a location easily accessible by the project team. The rights and concerns of students, historically marginalized groups, and anyone contributing creative works or private information require particular care; consult with Institutional Review Boards and/or legal experts before drafting and sharing agreements.

More information and resources

  • Tools for Team Success (Bass Connections, Duke University)
    Overview and links to different considerations of community-engaged, interdisciplinary, team-based research, from connecting with collaborators and securing funding to forming and managing teams.
  • Scholarly Communications Toolkit (ScholarWorks Center, Duke University Libraries)
    Examples of permission and agreement forms used in different situations to help ensure the ability to publish and reuse content. These are offered as examples of structure, content, and purpose, not as forms to be reused as is; consult with ScholarWorks (scholarworks@duke.edu) if you are interested in adapting a form or have a need not represented by the forms found here.

For more information on the above or to consult on project planning, contact scholarworks@duke.edu.