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Experiment!: Planning, Implementing and Interpreting by Oivind Andersson

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2.7 The Scientific Community

It is very difficult to solve complex problems on your own. Luckily, science is a collective process. Even if you do work on your own you always build on foundations laid by others. Our knowledge would grow too slowly if every scientist were to invent the wheel every time they solved a problem. Therefore, science is also an open process. By sharing their results through publications scientists help each other make progress and all researchers within a field benefit from this. This open, collaborative aspect of research is called the scientific community. When starting out in research it is important to get to know it and to start interacting with it.

The scientific community has many subcommunities. The most obvious one consists of the people that you work with every day, such as your closest colleagues and your supervisor. Another fairly obvious subcommunity is the people working within your subdiscipline, whether it is behavioral ecology, laser spectroscopy, or any other research field. These are the people that your research group collaborates with, and the ones you meet at scientific conferences. Disciplines such as physics and chemistry are on an intermediate level, and the top level includes all people that have ever worked with, and ever will work with, scientific research. Some parts of the scientific community are very closely connected, sharing techniques, theories and problem areas with each other. Other parts are more distantly related. ...

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