On authorship and risk

I have a long-standing argument with a good friend about who should co-author a paper. The particular disagreement is about the role of someone, who has substantially helped to write and shape the story of a paper.

My friend argues that if you have:
–       consistently followed the course of a project
–       provided advice and guidance in group meetings and in one-on-one discussions
–       and also helped write the paper,
but have not done any wet lab experiments or actual hands-on analysis of the data,
then you’re essentially doing the job of the PI, and thus, should be a co-author.

Generally, I agree. But when push comes to shove I’m not sure I would include people with such involvement on a publication. So, for the last couple of months I’ve been pondering why, and finally think I’ve come up with an answer: it’s a question of risk. Continue reading

Merry Christmas to Ye All!

Wishing everyone who’s reading this (instead of last-minute shopping, cookie baking, Christmas tree decorating etc) a very, very Happy Christmas! For all of those, who still need a bit of last-minute help, here some useful instructions on How To Wrap a Cat for Christmas (you never know when such knowledge may come in handy 😉 )

On the (possible) Origin of Terrible PIs by Means of Natural Selection

This is a post about a species most young scientists have probably encountered at some point or another: terrible bosses. The PIs who are insecure, awful at recognizing and resolving conflicts, or distrustful control freaks. The group leaders, who think bullying employees, insisting on long working hours or installing a no-holiday policy will create a productive work environment. Or the (often young) PIs who are still so unaware of their position, and so involved in promoting themselves rather than their group, that they completely neglect their students/postdocs. The list goes on. Over the years I have seen many of my friends, who started off as enthusiastic, talented students, become victims of such bosses, and leave research disillusioned. And every time this happened, I have wondered how those PIs got their position in the first place? Continue reading