Sunday, August 12, 2012

A Hypothetical Introduction to Research

Trainee: Hi Prof, I am interested in doing a research project now that I have my final exams out of the way.
Prof: No problem. Why don't you go talk to Doctor who has been working on a personal series of interventions for the last 10 years and needs somebody to write it up.
Trainee: Thank you.

Trainee: Hi Doctor, Prof said that you had your intervention series that you were keen to write up.
Doctor: Perfect timing. It is now mature enough to be written up.

Yada yada yada between Trainee and Doctor and a few months pass.

Doctor: Great job with the data analysis. We are close to the write up. Lets get the first draft together.
Trainee: Great stuff.

Prof: I heard that Trainee has done a great job so far. We should work out authorship. Trainee can go first and you second and I'll be last and senior author.
Doctor: Whilst I appreciate your referrals, this is my personal series and labour of love that I have worked on for 10 years and I should be senior and corresponding author.
Prof: But I was the one who introduced Trainee to you so I should be. It was my idea to push you along with getting the intervention written up.
Doctor: I was planning to have it written up in any case.

Yada yada yada between Doctor and other departmental colleagues who agree that Trainee should be first author and Doctor the senior and corresponding author.

Phone rings.

Prof: I have a solution to this impasse
Doctor: Great, I have been concerned about the friction this is causing in the department.
Prof: This will solve the problem. Why don't you go first author and take the credit for your hard work over 10 years and I go last and corresponding author.
Doctor: But what about Trainee?

Trainee: WTF???

Trainee loses interest.  The message is out that the paper is damned with misfortune and politics so no other takers to finish it off.  The paper does not progress any further.

DISCLAIMER: This is of course a completely fictional tale and I could not possibly imagine it ever occuring in real life.  Thanks for reading and follow me on Twitter  @DrHenryWoo

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