Finding and analysing gamma-ray bursts requires cooperation, but also creates competition, as shown by four papers in this issue (see pages 1008–1020). All of these groups started at the same point — with a signal from NASA's Swift satellite, which reports pulses of energy from dying stars within the cosmos.

Various groups scrambled to get in touch with someone at an observatory in an ideal position to measure the waves emitted from the bursts. Many teams shared instruments, such as the Very Large Array Telescope in New Mexico, or teamed up with observers who were sometimes on the other side of the world.

Some groups had access to their own ground-based telescopes. As a result of these alliances, the effort yielded overlap among some of the 107 authors involved. Three authors appear on two of the papers, representing a collaboration between Pennsylvania State University, the Goddard Space Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and the California Institute of Technology.

The other two papers share seven authors as a result of collaborations between the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics in Germany, the University of Tokyo in Japan, the University of California, Berkeley, and the National Institute of Astrophysics in Trieste, Italy.