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Background. The institutional affiliations and associated collaborative networks that scientists foster during their research careers are salient in the production of high quality science. The phenomenon of multiple institutional affiliations and its relationship to research output remains relatively unexplored in the literature.
Methods. We examined 27,612 scientific articles, modelling the citation counts received against the number of authors and affiliations held.
Results. In agreement with previous research, we found that teamwork is an important factor in high impact papers, with average citations received increasing concordant with the number of co-authors listed. For articles with more than five co-authors, we noted an increase in average citations received when authors with more than one institutional affiliation contributed to the research.
Discussion. Multiple author affiliations may play a positive role in the production of high-impact science. This ‘polygamous’ behavior, sometimes shunned by institutional board, should instead be viewed as meritorious in the pursuit of scientific discovery.