Collaborative authoring, writing, and peer collaboration refer to the production of content, documents, and articles written by several people working together. It is believed this method of writing produces a higher quality of work as opposed to a single writer/reviewer method. This collaborative method also brings many benefits such as maximum input, increased learning, varied points of view and information available for everyone.
The key element of success when co-authoring are effective communication and coordination. All participants should share a clear understanding of the project purpose and goal. The group needs to collectively negotiate, coordinate and research their writing process and assign roles and responsibilities to determine who approves and who owns the content.
- Group members are assigned roles such as monitor, editor and leader to streamline the writing process.
- Roles and responsibilities need to be defined to determine who approves and who owns the content. Since not every contributor shares the same level of expertise, it may be necessary before the document is finalized that the content be reviewed by a subject matter expert or group that can verify the integrity of the information.
- The subject matter expert and/or person responsible for the integrity of the information can post a "Verification" box at the beginning of the document which states when the information was verified and by whom.
- Efforts should be put into planning and agreeing on a category structure for the content at the beginning of the collaborative effort. Then all pages should be linked within this structure to allow for easy access.
- There should be a forum for sharing ideas such as the wiki page's associatd discussion page or a linked blog.
- All written content needs to respect copyright permission, references and sources need to be sited. Contributors need to acknowledge the authorship and provide a link back to the network location of the original copywriten content.