Because of some of our recent scientific papers, we have achieved a bit of prominence as "up and comers" in our field. At the institute lunch table, I have freely shared ideas and thoughts with a colleague whose lab is down the hall. But they were just collegial, rambling discussions, nothing more. Now, he has published a paper in a major journal and listed me as a co-author. This is without my permission and without there having been any real input or review from me. I do not want my widespread colleagues to feel I have endorsed this chap's research -- let alone contributed to it. He claims he was just being gracious by including our name, but we feel he might be "trying to ride on our coattails". At this point, how can I set the record straight, and also prevent him from doing this again?Drug Monkey would be jealous. Today's question is
Reader Question: A month ago I was flying to a convention of my research specialty in San Francisco, and in one of my checked bags was my notebook computer and three discs of raw data (non-encrypted) on about 800 patients we have enrolled in a clinical trial. But the airline lost the bag in transit. Of course, I filed a "lost bag" claim with them, but no trace of it yet. Little hope now. I have heard there is some new law called HITECH that applies to lost data. What should I do at this point? Should I already have done anything?
Reader Question: One of my lab technicians has begun talking to himself and has become very argumentative. Several of my staff have confided they are worried he is developing a mental disorder--and thus we could be heading for some episode of "workplace violence". As PI and his supervisor, may I legally interview him about these personality changes? Should I? If I refer the matter to our institute's Human Resources department, could the technician accuse me of "defamation of character"? Do I have any duty to do something or anything?
My lab has 200 rats involved in a long-term study. The technicians have become very attached to one in particular, and have turned “him” into something of a pet. He has been given a name, and his cage is kept right in our lab, not in the animal room. He frequently gets stroked and petted, plus he is even put into a tiny “leash” and taken for walks around the lab. Is their friendliness to a lab animal to be praised, or should I insist it be discontinued and staff maintain their emotional distance? Are any animal welfare regulations being violated?
Reader Question: What is the maximum or ideal teaching load a P.I. can accept and still effectively lead a research effort?and the response comes from a different planet than the one the Rabett currently inhabits
The teaching load is dependent on several factors. First, you need to consider the percent effort needed for your grant(s). If high, then the less time you have available to teach.In the Ghandian sense, that would be a good thing
The percent effort you owe your grant varies due to the type of institution. If you have responsibilities to teach undergraduates as well as graduate students, such as a science department in a School or College of Arts and Sciences, it is usually no more than 25%. Therefore you should be able to participate in teaching during both academic semesters. But, the effort required for teaching will depend on the type of classes you teach (i.e. large lecture-type service classes require a higher level of effort than smaller specialized upper-level classes or seminars).
If you are at a medical school or research institute, the percent effort on grants typically ranges from 50% to even 100%. (It is not recommended that your effort be 100% because then there is no leeway for activities not related to a currently funded grant, such as teaching or working on a new grant!)
In any case, you have to be very careful about teaching commitments. If your effort on grants is above 60%, most likely you have multiple grants to support this level of effort with the concomitant increase in time required to obtain and manage your research program. You should only give a select set of lectures in large service-type classes (such as for medical students or graduate students) and participate in seminars. You can often design a seminar so that it covers the current literature relevant to a research program supported by grants. Thus you can assist with the teaching mission of the department and enhance your research program concurrently.
As a new PI, you should have a frank discussion with your chair about selecting classes that will allow you to contribute to the teaching mission of the department while maintaining the time needed to develop and manage a funded research program
Comments by Gregory F. Ball, Ph.D., Dean of Research and Graduate Education, Johns Hopkins University