Proximity matters for collaboration

The last few years have seen a plethora of digital tools created to allow for virtual collaboration, but a recent MIT paper suggests that physical proximity is still key when supporting collaboration among academic researchers.

The study examined over 40,000 published papers and 2,350 patents from MIT researchers over a 10 year period, and mapped out a network of collaborators across the university, before then examining the locations of each collaboration, particularly in relation to the departmental and institutional membership of each researcher.

“Intuitively, there is a connection between space and collaboration,” the researchers say. “That is, you have better chance of meeting someone, connecting, and working together if you are close by spatially.

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