While working in a team is the generally accepted mode in which many biological andphysical scientists do research, this is not the case in all parts of the academy. In disciplines such as history and literature, for example, the tendency is to research alone and produce sole authored publications. This reﬂects howacademics in these disciplines were taught to do research, suits the methods that they use,and ﬁts their disciplines’ values.Such heterogeneity in research practices poses a problem for policy: National policyframeworks tend to have a one-size-ﬁts-all approach to funding research, and the defaultposition often seems to reﬂect the conﬂation in much of the literature on research policy between academic research and scientiﬁc research . Thus, reviews of research systems in countries such as the United Kingdom (UK) have led to claims thatsome disciplines are being privileged, because performance monitoring and funding sys-tems work to a formula that is more congruent with the biological and physical sciencesthan the social sciences and the humanities. These systemsare seen as valorising research conducted by teams that get grants together, do projectstogether, and produce publications together. This is consistent with a policy emphasis onsupporting research that generates relatively direct and quantiﬁable economic pay offs,typically in scientiﬁc and technological disciplines. It is also linked to an increasedemphasis on funding collaboration.Scientiﬁc research productivity has been closely linked to high levels of collaboration , and consequently manydeveloped countries seek to stimulate collaboration through a mix of research grantschemes and grant criteria.
Such measures are designed to fundcollaborative research based on particular models of collaboration.Yet, as we note above, it is in the differing patterns of collaboration, including forms of publication authorship, that much of the disciplinary heterogeneity in research practicesseems to reside. The tensions between uniform research policy settings and heterogeneousresearch practices are obvious. However, we should resist the temptation of adoptingstereotypical depictions that contrast the monkish habits of sole-author book-publishinghumanities scholars with the assumed sociability of multi-authored article-publishingscientists. Not only are there variations within these different disciplinary traditions , but the apparent clarity provided by measures of sole versus multi-authored pub-lications can obscure the socialinteractions that occur as part of the process of research even amongst academics whonever co-publish.Profound differences exist in collaborative practices, evolving from the socialisationof academics into disciplinary cultures, and from the national research systems and theindividual universities that they are located in. However, the organisational structure of departments based on different researchtraditions also affects how academics work. There is a reasonablylarge literature examining patterns of collaborative working in (biological and physical)science. The literature examining collaboration in the humanities (particularly), but alsoin many of the social sciences, is much smaller and often predicated simply on showinghow little of it there is in comparison with science. Knowledge about the forms of andextent to which academics other than biological and physical scientists do engage incollaboration is scarce. Further, there is almost no comparative research on disciplinarydifferences.