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Better Together? The Values, Obstacles, Opportunities, and Prospects for Collaborative Research in Environmental History

Environmental historians have long argued for the value of collaborative research, many have called for more of it, and some have experimented with new forms of teamwork. Yet data gathered from three prominent journals—Environmental History, Environment and History, and the Journal of Historical Geography—show that, over the fifteen-year period from 2006 through 2020, coauthorship on published research remained remarkably rare, with no discernible trend over time. Why do environmental historians still collaborate so infrequently on published research? What are the causes and consequences of this failure to work together? And how can we help better fulfill long-standing calls in our field for a more collaborative research culture? This essay answers these questions, and it offers practical remedies for fostering a culture of greater collaboration in environmental history.