This proposed effort will “stimulate cross-site and Network-level synthesis” by addressing issues of collaboration within the LTER network. Scientific synthesis should be promoted as we better understand the nature of that collaboration.

The concept that the LTER program works as a network of interacting sites and scientists is grounded in the earliest documents of the US LTER (Callahan 1984) through the most recent decadal plan (US LTER 2007).

The initiatives proposed in recent documents (US LTER 2007) cannot be achieved without this interaction.

We have recently provided one of the most complete studies of the nature of collaboration within the LTER network (Johnson et al. 2010) based on efforts from a previous working group grant.

We propose to extend the previous study to identify and quantify potential mechanisms that have fostered collaboration and network evolution.