In distributed research teams, internet is used for coordination, exchange of resources and sharing work, with the underlying assumption that internet use increases research productivity. The purpose of the article is to investigate this assumption in the context of two distributed research teams, with different coordination and management needs. The results suggest that the positive impact of internet use on research productivity is limited and may only be relevant only when collaborative endeavours suffer coordination problems. At the same time, meetings prove the most important predictor of research productivity. Implications are drawn for the management of distributed research teams. © 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.