Guide to Collaborative Science


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Chesapeake Bay, Virgina Reserve. Photo credit: NERRA Photos.

Guide Contents

Learn the basics of collaborative science to see if this approach will work for your situation.

Each section of this guide contains examples, tips, and downloadable tools. While some parts draw upon others, the guide need not be used in sequence. In fact, we designed the guide to be usable in pieces. Use the parts that are helpful to you when you need them.

We encourage you to take the guidance provided here and make it your own, modifying it as needed to best fit your circumstances. We also encourage you to let us know how we can improve and expand upon this resource.

Scope Your Project

Clarify the purpose of your project, with attention to the needs of both the place and all those who benefit from it.

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Design Your Project

Build an appropriate team for your project, aligned with your stated purpose, and define responsibilities.

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Enhance Your Collaboration

Keep your team engaged in the project from launch through full implementation and respond to management challenges.

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Fine-Tune the Products

Develop strategies to identify and meet communications objectives and co-create user-relevant products with your partners.

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This guide distills key observations and lessons learned from Collaborative Science projects funded by the NOAA NERRS Science Collaborative Program. Copyright 2022. For questions or permissions, please contact

Citation: NOAA National Estuarine Research Reserve System Science Collaborative. Guide to Collaborative Science. 2022.