Remote and interdisciplinary research in surgical knowledge production

Jennifer C. Goldsack, Barret Michalec, Mark Cipolle, Seema S. Sonnad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background Surgical knowledge production has changed dramatically in the last 30 y, moving away from investigations by individual surgeon researchers and toward remote and interdisciplinary research. We investigated how surgeons make decisions about engaging in research and identify motivators, facilitators, and barriers to conducting research in an increasingly challenging environment. Materials and methods We performed a qualitative analysis of semistructured interviews with surgeons from academic medical centers across the United States. We asked participants to describe their experiences and opinions regarding remote and interdisciplinary collaborations. Results Of 64 surgeon researchers invited, 21 (33%) agreed and participated in semistructured interviews. Each interview lasted an average (standard deviation) of 29 min (12). Surgeons were motivated by both internal and external factors, including some that might be identified as barriers. The internal desire to improve care and the need for collaboration to address increasingly complex questions requiring larger samples sizes emerged as most significant to interview participants. Social networks were identified as the dominant facilitator of multisite research, with technology playing a supporting role. Barriers to remote and interdisciplinary research ranged from individual, "micro" level barriers, through structural barriers that include institutional level challenges and competing priorities, to macrolevel system and policy-level barriers. Conclusions Surgeons clearly recognize the importance of high-quality research aligned with current paradigms of clinical care and are using remote and interdisciplinary collaboration to improve the quality of the science they produce and align their work with the demand for increasingly high levels of evidence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)139-146
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Evidence-based medicine
  • Publishing
  • Remote collaboration
  • Surgical research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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