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Writing collaboratively

Collaborative writing is now a common part of the research and professional publishing landscape.


In addition to articles and teaching case studies, co-authoring of academic books – both textbooks and monographs – is becoming very common. Normally these are edited by one or two people, with individual contributors writing chapters. However, the practice of multiple authors contributing to chapters or encyclopaedia entries is growing. For example, Wikipedia has thousands, if not millions, of volunteer authors writing and editing its online content.

One factor contributing to the growth in collaboration is the increasing move towards interdisciplinary research. This sees teams in different disciplines combine information, data, techniques, tools, perspectives, etc. to find solutions to problems they are unable to solve alone. Another important element is the rise of online collaboration sites, such as Google Docs.

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Benefits of co-authorship

  • Learning opportunities: If you are a first-time author, it can be a great way to pick up good publishing practices from more experienced colleagues. And, in the case of teaching case study authors, you are developing two complementary writing styles – the cases require a narrative approach while the teaching notes demand a more academic style.
  • Stronger submissions: More eyes on the paper can result in a more robust manuscript; what one person misses, another is likely to spot.
  • Improved funding opportunities: Funding bodies look favourably on co-authorship and collaboration. Interdisciplinary research is also a growing requirement.


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