Just saw an article I wrote for Future Science has come out as a Perspective:
Growing significance of communities and collaboration in discovery and development
Barry Hardy, Future Medicinal Chemistry, June 2009, Vol. 1, No. 3, Pages 435-449.
Sorry, but I don't have the budget just right now to take the Open Access option, but there is some other open material available at the above link.
In summarising the drivers for the growing significance of communites and collaboration I introduced:
The benefits of community participation or collaboration should outweigh the costs to support a rational decision to pursue such routes. Lions usually prefer to hunt as a group as the shared food from group kills offers a better return and lower risk than hunting alone; in a similar manner organisations may also choose to collaborate to have greater success in acquiring new resources or income. The current convergence of a number of factors appears to be driving up the R&D collaboration benefit/cost ratio. The drivers include:
1. Scientific research is becoming more complex and multi-disciplinary, requiring researchers to move more away from “working in the expert’s box”.
2. Our work, economy and society are becoming more knowledge-oriented. (I define knowledge here as including understanding gained from experience and involves individual and collective knowledge in addition to explicit knowledge such as intellectual property (IP).)
3. Business models in the chemistry and pharmaceutical industry that worked fine historically, e.g., manufacturing products based predominantly on patents related to chemistry, appear to be increasingly lacking.
4. The goals of translational and personalized medicine have stronger requirements for networked and collaborative approaches over discipline and time than the historically relatively linear drug discovery and development process. Integrated services offer greater future value creation than stand-alone products.
5. Patient Safety has become an issue of growing concern requiring new more integrative approaches to data, knowledge and disciplines.
6. Computational Science continues to grow in importance, fueling overlaps and interactions between scientific disciplines including that of computer science.
7. The maturing of the Internet-based World Wide Web including enhanced usability, services, social software and the semantic web, provide new community and collaboration resource opportunities.
8. Challenging problems we face as a race such as global warming, energy management, population growth, and sustainable development are often linked to healthcare issues and are demonstrating the need and benefit for greater cooperation and at larger scales.
9. Continuing education and learning throughout life has been growing in importance as knowledge workers go through greater numbers of career and job changes than in the industrial age.
10. Work can increasingly be done anywhere on the planet where the best combination of costs and skills are available. As Thomas Friedman discussed in his recent book, the “world is now flat” (1). A work objective can be broken into a workflow of numerous tasks, each of which may be done in different locations or by different organizations or individuals.
And I will add three more uncertain or controversial factors here:
11. There is a growing importance of small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) collaborating in knowledge-oriented activity and growth in the global economy.
12. As our modern life seems increasingly less rewarding beneath the surface, we need, search for and find new happiness from the benefits of taking advantage of new collaboration opportunities through interacting with others more. In addition to needing better conversations for learning, work and self-development, we also simply need them psychologically and to feel good. (Happier workers are also more productive ones.)
13. Enabling international cooperation, collaboration and knowledge transfer in socio-economic areas such as healthcare, including building shared cultural meaning between different countries, races and cultures will significantly progress the security and prosperity of the world we leave to our children, whereas other current flawed political, military and unsustainable economic strategies will not.
Welcome your feedback and additions...
(1) Friedman TL, “The World is Flat”, Picador, (2005).