Maintaining an Active Research Career through Collaboration

Throughout history great mathematics has been conducted in collaboration at institutions where mathematicians and scientists came together at seminars and workshops to exchange their developing ideas.  In our age of international travel and communication on the internet, the opportunities to collaborate have expanded exponentially.   In this panel we will discuss issues that arise in mathematical collaborations, including questions such as how to start and maintain a successful collaboration, how collaborative efforts can build a research program and a career, how to engage students in collaborative research, and how to obtain funding for collaboration.  Panelists will share their experience at research institutions, undergraduate institutions and in industry.   

    Wednesday, January 4, 2012, 2:15 pm - 3:40 pm.

    Moderator:  Ami Radunskaya
    Panelists:  Ruth Haas, Trachette L Jackson, Jill Pipher, Ulrica Wilson
    Organizers: Ruth Haas, Jennifer Lewis, Ami Radunskaya, Christina Sormani
    The discussion will continue online at 
    December 1, 2011- August 30, 2012
    Questions: are listed here with links to responses.

    Online Moderator: Christina Sormani
    Online Panelists: Open to any mathematician. Participants so far are listed here.
    Questions and contributions may be sent to sormanic ( at )

Online Panel

We have divided the questions into three major categories:

I. Collaboration, Coauthoring and One's Career

These questions concerns ways in which collaboration can help one's career: the basics of collaboration and questions regarding collaboration as a postdoc and tenure track faculty member, coauthoring with undergraduates and obtaining funding.

II.  Building Collaborations to Achieve Mathematical Goals

These questions concern the exchange of ideas and building of collaborations where the goal is to solve a mathematical problem.   While these questions are relevant to young mathematicians, they are essential to mature mathematicians.

III.  Collaboration Difficulties

These questions focus on specific difficulties that may arise during the collaboration process and how they may be addressed.   We encourage mathematicians with concerns to send in questions and they will be posted anonymously.  Collaboration is an essential part of the mathematical process and it is important to understand how to maintain a successful collaboration especially in a long term project.

IV. Additional Questions

Anyone who has a question should email them to the online moderator.   We will list them here and try to find someone to answer the question.   Some questions may be inserted under an existing topic.  Others will be added at the end.

I. Collaboration, Coauthoring and One's Career:

II.  Building Collaborations to Achieve Mathematical Goals:

III. Collaboration Difficulties

A. Division of Labor.  Should one Collaborator be filling in all the details and typing up the Project? 

B. The Missing Collaborator: when a collaborator stops contributing and the clock is ticking for the other 

C. The Domineering Collaborator: making your ideas heard   

D. The Revision Process: how much should one collaborator rewrite what the other collaborator has written?  

E. Personality Conflicts  

F. Adding Additional Coauthors 

G. Communicating Concerns about the Collaboration

H. Finding a Mediator for a Troubled Collaboration  

I. Handing a Mathematical Divorce: when two Mathematicians decide to stop Working together   

J. Starting to Collaborate Again: looking for the Warning Signs

K. Finding Collaborators for Long Term Projects that Span Years and Maintaining a Good Relationship   

IV. Additional Questions

C. What to do when a collaborator stops replying to all emails and never communicates with you again? (unanswered)

Subpages (1): Additional Resources