The aim of the paper is to investigate the use of online data and time series analysis, in order to study the dynamics of new types of research collaboration in a systematic way. Two international research teams were studied for more than 3 years, and quantitative data about their internet use together with observation of their collaboration patterns were gathered. Time series analysis (ARIMA modelling) was performed on their use of internet, and specific types of models related to specific ways of conducting research at a distance. The paper proposes the use of online data and ARIMA models to identify the stabilisation of a complex system, such as a research team, and investigate everyday research practices. © 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.