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International Collaborations in Behavioral and Social Sciences: Report of a Workshop
the trade-offs encountered in international collaborations that should be acknowledged and that can be managed? How can these difficulties serve as learning opportunities? What steps could be taken to facilitate more frequent and more fruitful international research collaborations?
On October 5-6, 2006, the U.S. National Committee for the International Union of Psychological Science convened the International Collaborations in Behavioral and Social Sciences Research Workshop. There these issues were addressed, with the benefit of the experience, perspectives, and reflections of a number of behavioral and social scientists who have participated in international research projects. The workshop assembled individuals who have collaborated internationally, constructed international databases, helped establish research institutes and training programs abroad, created training programs for foreign scholars, and surveyed researchers who have been involved in international collaborations (see Appendix B). Workshop participants discussed their experiences, insights, and approaches to a variety of research challenges and offered a number of suggestions for facilitating and maximizing the scientific contributions of international research collaborations in the behavioral and social sciences. Although the focus of the workshop was primarily on encouraging U.S. behavioral and social scientists to engage in international research collaboration, the workshop’s findings may be relevant to researchers in other countries and other fields.
Although the workshop’s title was “International Collaborations in Behavioral and Social Sciences Research,” workshop participants were cognizant that coordinating work across national borders involves other kinds of border crossings. Collaboration with researchers in other parts of the world entails moving back and forth across cultural, linguistic, disciplinary, institutional, and political boundaries. The cluster of disciplines studying a particular phenomenon will vary in different settings. Academic disciplines are not equivalent in different parts of the world. For example, educational psychology may be the most highly developed area of psychology in one country and experimental psychology the most highly developed in another. Social psychology and social work may have close connections in one country but not another. Health psychology, which is well developed in the United States, does not even exist in some parts of the world. In addition, a