In our country, the first author gets most of the credit and the other authors practically fall much behind. While, the first author should really get more point as he does maximum work, I find the others contributions are not as minuscule as indicated by the weightage rule. To be clear it is 70 percent of the first author and rest gets 30 percent divided by the number of other authors of the paper.

I recently got a tenured (yes, permanent) faculty position in mathematics. During my PhD and postdoc, I collaborated with the same people on some projects, one big and one small, but most of my time was spent on my own, single-authored projects.

This clearly worked, however I now feel like I am missing out. I see all these people at conferences interacting, breaking ground on new knowledge together and having rewarding time working with other people. How do I get to that point?

Not to fall into stereotypes, but I am unfortunately a bit socially awkward, which does not help. I can go out and have fun with other young mathematicians, but walking up to someone and starting talking about a topic of collaboration seems to be out my reach. It never goes further than “I have a question”, listening to the answer, and going back to talk with my friend-colleagues.

Since it is required to be precise and ask one question at a time, I had to split my problem into two. The first part (background) is mentioned here:

Gifting co-authorship if the topic of research was suggested by my boss?

The second part is here. So, I had finished 40% of a paper 1 as a postdoc in institute X. And, I had resigned from X on 31st of May. After completing the paper 1, I am planning to work and write paper 2 which will be an extension; probably a much advanced version of paper 1. I will start working on paper 2 from July/August and probably submit it in November if everything goes according to the plan. But for paper 2, I need experimental data and even though I had many options for sources to get the data, I thought it was better to seek permission from my boss at X before I use their data.

Also, note that the topic of research for paper 1 was was suggested by my former boss at X, please see the link I mentioned above.

But my boss at X has two conditions: First, I am required to have affiliation of his research unit for paper 2. Second, in the acknowledgement section, I will have to strictly mention that the research of paper 2 was funded by a project grant from his research unit.

In reality, he had the data from the year 2008, from a private seismic survey company XYZ and such data is very regular thing to obtain in any seismic survey. I have such data as well from my previous job profile as a geophysicist. I can easily get more of such data and permission to use them from other companies without any hassle.

As a result of this conflict my relationship with him has also got strained. I tried to clear things with him through a meeting, sent him two emails, but he did not replied. He has probably burnt the bridges and avoids confrontation. He may also be upset from me as I am going away from his clutches. He had even restricted me that I cannot contact the company XYZ directly for asking them for the permission to use the data.

Is this not a form of bullying?

Also he made it sound as if I was stealing their data, on the contrary, I was merely seeking permission to use them. I was kind of miffed with that, not acceptable to me.

I was thinking, that if I am allowed to use the data, I will acknowledge the company, my boss at X and his research unit. Also I would acknowledge him for suggesting me the topic of research for paper 1. Regarding the data permission, I have done this before as well in a different institute with another professor. It was never a problem. A simple acknowledgment sentence in the paper has been sufficient for such purposes.

So how fair are the demands of my boss at X?

This is an update of a query that I had asked few months ago: Co-authorship just because a Professor provides me the employment?
In fact I have even adopted some of the suggestions given by @Magicsowon there.

I was advised to make the question to the point, and not include any extra information. This is why I am posting it afresh here with only relevant information and also some new information as the situation has evolved since then.

I have worked as a postdoc in a European university for 6 months. The topic of my research was suggested by my boss and his collaborator, Prof. M. That was their contribution. After that, I went through more than 50-60 papers to find the right paper to build my work on. I have developed the theory and I have finished the computational part. Now, I am writing the paper.

A good analogy would be, it was like going to a conference and there one hears about an interesting problem that deserves serious investigation.

While developing the theory, I sent many drafts containing my derived equations to my main collaborator (my boss), but he hardly commented on them, none useful feedback from him. I do not think he had even read them seriously. Considering that a postdoc is essentially an unsupervised position, and the potential of co-authorship dispute in the future, I sent him a couple of emails asking him to help me with certain aspect of the theory and computational aspect. But, he did not provided any help to me. He had a regular comment during every meeting we had,

“I am aware, I should more actively contribute to the work, but as you can see I am busy with meetings. And I am sure, you can fix this problem.”

Also, he did not gave me sufficient freedom to collaborate with other researchers. So, having no help coming from anywhere, I resigned from the job. I had implicitly mentioned to him as well as to the head of the dept. in my resignation email that I had worked all by myself during the 6 months stay at their department, and also that I can do the remaining work by myself. No objection was raised on that from anyone.

Now, I am writing the paper, and my plan is:

1) Write the paper as a single author under the affiliation of the former department where I had finished almost 40% of the work. I cannot gift co-authorship for my hard work of 6-months to anyone as I did not received any major/minor help from anyone. I have checked, this is consistent with the Vancouver recommendations.

2) I will acknowledge my boss and Prof. M in the acknowledgement section of the paper for suggesting me the topic of research. Note: I had just met Prof. M in a conference for 30 minutes or so, we had general discussion about the topic of research. No specific discussion regarding the work I did, no mail correspondence between him and me. However if I am not wrong, he is the actual brain behind the project, and I had tried to visit him and collaborate with him closely. But my boss did not facilitated that either. Also, note that my boss and Prof. M have worked together in most of their papers in the last 2-3 years. And my boss is the director of a research unit in which Prof. M is a member too.

3) I will also acknowledge the research unit of my boss for funding the research.

Is it fair, honest and sufficient? If the paper is published, can he claim authorship by writing to the editor? I am pretty sure he can almost show nothing about the evidence of the contribution other than suggesting the topic of research, if asked.

And the traces of this problem have off shoot to become another problem. See, Acknowledgment of funding and adding an affiliation in exchange of permission to use experimental data?

Following my question How to effectively e-mail a professor I met briefly about collaborative work? here, I managed to convince the professor for collaboration. Now he has linked me to his post-docs and a Ph.D. student (his emphasis was more on the Ph.D. student).

He told me to contact them and see how we can collaborate. (actually he sent an email keeping all of us in CC, i.e. me and his post-docs and PhD student).

Now I have an idea that I should read a couple of student’s paper and then proceed in the direction. But what would the veterans in the academia suggest should be my approach so as not to miss this opportunity?

PS. Not sure the second tag is correct or not!

I provide tutoring services to off-site students, and I’m curious what kinds of conference systems or ‘virtual classrooms’ others are using. Right now my favorite is Blackboard Collaborate, which has a good feature set including screen capture and drawing tools. Unfortunately it’s a chore for students to set up the first time, which is a barrier we don’t need.

The alternatives my team is considering include Zoom and Blackboard Ultra, which are easy to connect with but seem to me to have really meager feature sets. Some capabilities I care about include drawing, selective erasing, multiple whiteboard pages so I can flip back and forth, and screen capture capability.

Anyone know about an option that can do all that? It seems like nobody I’ve found can match Blackboard Collaborate’s feature list from three years ago.

A PhD student “Alex” has a few years to impress their research lab advisor and then their dissertation committee. During these years, I imagine that Alex will come up with some great ideas that can be modeled, simulated, and perhaps validated with physical experiments, etc. It might feel that all of Alex’s work “belongs” to the lab, and namely, to their lab director / advisor. Then after several years of working at such a high-energy pace, does Alex have to worry about running out of ideas, and that they gave all their ideas away to their advisor? Or does Alex have so much more to gain from sharing all of their best ideas and then receiving crucial feedback in return, and that the benefits far outweigh the ‘costs’?

In my field (economics), there are many co-authored papers. People are even writing some chapters of their PhD thesis with other colleagues.

I know that single-authored papers are more appreciated when you are a Ph.D. student and when you are in the job market.

Until now, I always prefered writing my papers alone. This is not because I did not want to interact with people but I did not really want to be dependant on other people during my Ph.D. (I know that some projects take so much time to be accomplished since everybody has its own research agenda.)

I wonder if writing papers (or chapters of a Ph.D. thesis) always alone is a bad sign on a CV? What are the advantages and disadvantages?

A professor who I collaborate with remotely asks me to document my analysis. For example, he wants me to copy and paste regression results in a Google doc, and explain clearly what the variables mean, etc. And also paste project-related emails into a Google doc, and so on.

There are certainly advantages to such careful documentation; one will be able to recall one’s thinking when returning to the project after a long break.
However, I feel that in some cases, the costs outweigh the benefits. I personally feel that explaining things in a face to face meeting makes things much swifter for both of us.

I’m fine with the vast majority of his requests and they make sense. But one or two aspects involve some time with little benefit. For example, I don’t really see the benefit of pasting emails into a Google doc when they can be easily searched through Gmail. I’m trying to do this, but if I eventually find it too time consuming, is there a way to politely tell the professor that I will not do it (due to the benefit-cost ratio)?

Recently in a conference, I met a professor from an esteemed university and head of a research group I have been following. I told him about my research and he gave me his email address (though I could easily find it over the web, he personally wrote it down for me). He told me to write to him and he will direct me to his post-doc and see how we can collaborate. His research group has some testing facilities I would love to work with.

The following is the email I am aiming to write to him. Any corrections and/or suggestions will be highly appreciated.

Dear Professor XYZ,

Hope you are doing fine. We met at ABC conference, in TTT a couple of
days ago. I introduced myself as the PHD student at 123 University and
expressed my willingness to work on a collaborative project with your
research group (utilizing your practical testbed for DDD project).

First of all, I appreciate the time you spent with me, and the opportunity
to introduce myself, my research, and my interest in utilizing your
testing facilities. Second, I would like your advice on how I can further proceed to initiate a collaboration between your research facilities and our RRR research group.

I will wait for your reply.

Thanks again,

Kashan