Collaboration was a time-consuming affair for the pioneers of scientific discovery. It took nineteenth century naturalists months to receive replies to their correspondence. Today, such missives are sent with the click of a button. Months of waiting have shrunk to seconds, and telephones and video linkups have made real-time interaction a cinch. It is not surprising, then, that the 'average collaboration distance' between scientists working together on projects has skyrocketed in the past thirty years — from 334 kilometres in 1980 to more than 1,500 kilometres in 2009.