For two centuries, collaborative research has kept developing, which has been explained in various ways. We offer a novel functional explanation of this development, grounded in a sequential model of scientific research where the priority rule applies. Robust patterns about the differential successfulness of collaborative groups over their competitors are derived and it is argued that they feed the development of collaboration. This global mechanism may trigger an arms race and is compatible with some decrease of productivity of collaborative groups and some over collaboration. The proposed explanation can integrate various factors usually associated with the rise of collaboration.
Thomas Boyer-Kassem is an Associate Professor in Logic and Philosophy of Science in the Philosophy Departement at the University of Poitiers, in France. His research interests lie in the philosophy of science, in (social, formal) epistemology, and in decision theory. For example, he is interested in group decision-making, in the precautionary principle, in scientific expertise or in the interpretations of quantum mechanics. He collaborates with philosophers as well as with scientists.