“If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange these apples, then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas.” – George Bernard Shaw
Collaboration is working cohesively together, be willing to trust one another, pitch-in for one another when required, in personal and professional settings. Collaboration, in my view, is positively impacting the growth of each member of the team by providing and receiving constructive feedback.
When it comes to writing, I have mixed opinions about collaboration. Although I believe in the fundamental tenet that collaboration improves a person’s writing skills, collaborative writing dilutes the signature style of a seasoned writer, unless the terms for collaboration is to review the grammar and perhaps the flow of the composition.
Like artists and painters, every writer has their style of expression, and it is essential to preserve the creativity and individuality of writers. Although this might not hold true for experienced writers, in my opinion, in collaborating, there is a higher possibility for novice writers to get influenced by each other and underestimating their unique writing style.
But, personally, I find collaborative writing rather exciting. While I am developing my writing style, I feel collaborative work would help me learn different forms of expression of an idea, and that would serve as an essential building block to develop my creativity. Although, I doubt that I would have the same opinion many years into a career that is writing heavy.
While talking about collaborative writing in academia, my views differ slightly from what I stated above. In academic writing, I presume that intention of the writer is to focus on the evidence to support an argument or present results of an intervention, and not to focus on individual style unless the paper is about creativity and styles in writing. Writing an academic paper requires research. In the Sciences, research also includes work in a laboratory and hours of tireless experimentations, which is impractical for the writer alone to accomplish. Good academic writing presumably is based on comprehensive research, both in and out of a laboratory. And so collaboration, and citing researchers and other writers is vital. This is perhaps why 1-2 authors more commonly author chapters in textbooks, and scientific journal articles are more likely have 3 to many authors.