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To identify characteristics of enabling and disabling research cultures.‘Research culture’ is a term that is taken for granted and seldom defined. However, the need for an enabling and sustaining culture for conducting research is emphasised in nursing and other disciplines. The characteristics of this culture have been suggested but no empirical research has apparently been conducted.Experienced interdisciplinary researchers (n=72) responded to a qualitative questionnaire to determine the key characteristics of a positive and enabling research culture.A descriptive survey was used. It consisted of four questions asking participants to define research culture and name three characteristics of a ‘good’ research culture and describe situations of good and bad research cultures in their workplace.Analysis revealed ‘environment’ to be the key construct associated with an enabling research culture.An enabling research culture is an environment characterised by: research productivity, positive collegial relationships, inclusivity, non-competitiveness, and effective research processes and training. The authors' findings resonate with and provide empirical support for previous literature highlighting the importance of community and collegial relationships to research productivity.Nurses, whether researchers, administrators, teachers or clinicians, should work together to foster collegial relationships and partnerships to assist in the creation of positive and enabling research cultures in all settings.Cite this article: Wilkes L, Jackson D (2013) Enabling research cultures in nursing: insights from a multidisciplinary group of experienced researchers. Nurse Researcher. 20, 4, 28-34.