Collaboration within the Puget Sound Marine and Nearshore Science Network

Article appearing in Coastal Management. Volume 42. Issue 4.

  • Co-Author:
  • Patrick Christie with Kristin Hoelting, Beth Moore, and Richard Pollnac
  • Date: June 27, 2014

This article presents results of a study intended to paint a broad picture and uncover general trends in collaboration within the Puget Sound marine and nearshore research community. Survey results showed that natural scientists dominate the network, representing 80% of all actors in the sample. Relational contingency analysis revealed high internal rates of collaboration among social scientists and among interdisciplinary scientists. The lowest rates of collaboration were observed between natural scientists and social scientists (p <.001). Cohesion metrics were examined within sub-networks of individuals working on a variety of topical focus areas. In general, sub-networks focused on human dimensions–related topics had higher fragmentation scores (lower cohesion) than sub-networks focused on ecological, biological, or physical processes. These less cohesive sub-networks are identified as areas of opportunity for strategic network interventions to support and foster new collaborations. Results of qualitative analysis highlight factors that facilitate or inhibit success of collaborative research efforts, such as leadership, incentives, and long-term adequate funding. Additionally, the degree to which a collaborative research model can be linked to “high-impact,” policy-informing research outcomes is addressed.