Working Papers

Creative Collaborations from Afar

The Benefits of Independent Authors


The number of times that an article is cited has served as an indicator of both its creativity and impact (Feist, 1994; Griggs & Proctor, 2002). In this study, we investigated the relationship between citations and two very simple variables—the number of authors and the number of separate locations. Previous research, on balance, would support the notion that an increased number of collaborators would increase the quality of the product, at least to some asymptote (Ziller, 1957; Torrance, 1971). Research on the effect of separate locations is more sparse. Most work favors collaborations at the same locale, given a sharing of perspective and benefits in terms of coordination and motivation (Handy, 1995; Jarvenpaa & Leidner, 1999). However, research from the minority influence literature documents the stimulating effects of independent and differing views (Nemeth, 2003), leading to the conclusion that independent locations would be an asset. Results from an analysis of six journals over a 10-year period show the benefit of both the number of authors and the number of independent locations. Journals also differed in their citation average, Psychological Review being cited significantly more often than any of the other five journals.