Creative Convergence: Conducting a Systematic Review Project Through Cross-Institutional, Distance Collaboration
Ching Dennison, Carolyn
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Objective: To reflect on a cross-institutional systematic review project: What are effective collaboration methods for geographically dispersed research teams? Methods: Conduct a scoping literature review on effective methods for cross-institutional, distance research team collaboration considering: different institutional resources and policies and dispersed locations and time zones. Collect systematic review team member perspectives regarding: what worked best, what each might do differently, and recommendations for others. Identify themes from the team results and synthesize team results with literature review results for a set of recommended best practices. Results: Medical librarians joined systematic review teams for an MLA Research Section initiative to address health librarianship research questions. Ten librarians were on our team, including a team leader, mostly from academic institutions, collaborating from Hawaii, the continental U.S., and Canada. We identified benefits including diverse perspectives, wide-ranging experience in healthcare education and librarianship, and expansive access to health sciences literature through our multiple institutions; challenges such as developing a project plan and timeline from scratch; lessons learned; and recommendations for future projects. Conclusion: In today’s healthcare environment, we strive to produce the highest quality results and to include diverse perspectives to strengthen our research. Healthcare professionals, including medical librarians, increasingly interact in online environments with geographically dispersed research teams. Find out what we learned from this project: what worked best, what we would do differently, and our recommendations for successful distance collaboration.