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The history of science is full of stories of both longstanding rivalry and successful collaboration between researchers or research groups. At best, a competitive attitude can boost the performance of scientists and speed up making discoveries and publishing results. However, nobody benefits, when the competition is going too far and people start to hide their best results and stop sharing their expertise. Also, the main competition for funding and media coverage is between different scientific disciplines. Promoting atmospheric science in general and increasing public knowledge is a benefit for everyone within the field, both research groups and instrument manufacturers.

The AMS (aerosol mass spectrometer) user community with its yearly meetings is a model example of a successful collaboration, where scientist and manufacturers come together and share their latest ideas, results and best practices. Similarly, we have been starting a PSM user community, which has so far held 2 international user meetings. Communication is done mainly through a password protected Wiki-platform (PSM Wiki), where all the measurement software, manuals and instructions are available. I have been sharing there also some of the codes I use for analyzing PSM data and e.g. for correcting the data for losses in the sampling system. Maybe you can find a solution for your problem when checking out the FAQ page. A wiki platform enables everyone in the community to participate at their own terms on their preferred time.

It’s up to you to decide if it’s better to compete or collaborate in science. But when having instrument troubles, it is a good idea to ask your colleague instead of banging your head in the wall alone. And when you have a solution, share it!

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