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Leaving postdoc for industry - publications

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Leaving postdoc for industry - publications

Postby S. Wite » Fri Sep 02, 2016 10:05 pm

I am asking for my husband. He has been working as a post-doc for 3 years. He has done a lot of collaboration with industry in a hot area. He has recently been offered a job at a biotech company and intends to accept the offer. The problem is that, although he has done a lot of hard work, collaboration, and even named on some patents, he has not yet published his work. He is hoping to prepare a manuscript ahead of leaving for the new job but will not be in the lab for the rounds of revision and potential rejection/resubmission. He has told his PI about his intention to take the job and she is basically threatening his authorship and trying very hard to convince him not to leave. Does he have any recourse or does he basically lose all "rights" once he has left the lab? He has basically done all the work, made all the figures, etc already.
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Re: Leaving postdoc for industry - publications

Postby D.X. » Sun Sep 04, 2016 7:32 am

No he does not lose rights. It is academically and scientifically dishonest to deny authorship and/or acknowlegement of a contributors work.

On the indusrty side we adhere to Good Publication Practices as defined by GPP3 Guidelines by the ISMPP and the guidelines set by the ICJME. The creteria for authorship are defined here and the is a legal presedence to why the guidelines exist. Elements of this are subject to auditing by competent health aurhorities. Of course this is specific for clinical research but the priniples do carry over to basic science research.

Based on this, one can have a discussion before an escalation with these guidelines in hand. If not a good discussion, state you will go to your university's office of research and try grants administration. You may have an office of research intergrity as well. These guidelines are well accepted on the industry side and have its backing. At a minimum a full acknowlegment is required with a specification of work contributed in the acknowlegement section. If the contribution is big any reader may question lack of authorship. Im sure the PI will be uncomfortable writing it. Worse case senario if you see it published write a letter to the editor with a cc to the funding agency. Sit back and watch the show.

Good luck.

Dx
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Re: Leaving postdoc for industry - publications

Postby D. Martin » Sun Sep 04, 2016 10:22 am

Well, if he did the work, he will be an author. The PI will be unethical if your husband's name is remove from the publication and things would need to be discussed if that is the case.

On the other hand, once he is working in the industry and had acquired "industry skills" (I mean soft and technical skills that he will not get in academia) it will not matter if he is an author or not. getting a new set of skills is more important than an extra paper. In academia it is all about grants and papers, industry is another ball game (IMHO).
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Re: Leaving postdoc for industry - publications

Postby Dave Jensen » Sun Sep 04, 2016 12:37 pm

D. Martin wrote:Well, if he did the work, he will be an author. The PI will be unethical if your husband's name is remove from the publication and things would need to be discussed if that is the case.

On the other hand, once he is working in the industry and had acquired "industry skills" (I mean soft and technical skills that he will not get in academia) it will not matter if he is an author or not. getting a new set of skills is more important than an extra paper. In academia it is all about grants and papers, industry is another ball game (IMHO).


I agree with the comments from both DX and D. Martin. It sounds to me as if the PI is attempting to bully your husband, as it would be a loss of a good pair of hands if your husband left. Also, there's the "Oh no, I've trained someone for industry" thinking going on here, which is unfortunately still seen in academia in some labs. Never fear. Your husband put the time into the papers and no one can take that away.

I would suggest that your husband alert his prospective boss that he may need to do a bit of "tuning up" of a couple of journal articles, and that while he'll try to do this on his own time, it may require a bit of patience by the employer for only a short time and then the work will be published, and will benefit even the company, who will appreciate having well published scientists in their employ.

Don't let him fall prey to pressure of this sort. Absurd!

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Re: Leaving postdoc for industry - publications

Postby PG » Sun Sep 04, 2016 2:07 pm

Completely removing him as an author should be difficult however the PI usually control the list of authors and it is not entirely unlikely that leaving the lab may have a negative impact on your husbands position in the list of authors. On the other hand if he is successful in his move to industry publications becomes less important.
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Re: Leaving postdoc for industry - publications

Postby D. Martin » Sun Sep 04, 2016 9:27 pm

Two more things:
1) you mention he is in some patents, in my view (I am in academia) those are publications
2) I am not sure he already did but he can offer the PI to train someone in case some extra experiments are needed. Perhaps he can offer to start a month later? the start up people will understand that and the PI will be happy.

Truth is, once he accepts the offer, the PI has no leverage so he should be grateful your husband is offering some help. One of my postdocs left for a national lab and I was very grateful he stayed an extra month to finish his project (I did not pressured him, we talked things over and he gracefully agreed to finish his project)
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Re: Leaving postdoc for industry - publications

Postby Craig B. » Tue Sep 06, 2016 9:18 am

As others have mentioned, your husband will maintain his rights to authorship once he leaves this lab, although his place on the manuscripts may be subject to change. If his PI were to drop him completely, there are avenues he could pursue with the journal and his institution.

In this situation, my biggest concern is that the manuscript will simply never get finished. It's in the PI's interest to get the work published, but I know of many, many situations where someone leaves the lab and their work is never published.

Your husband should establish whether there is someone else in the lab who is invested in dealing with major revisions and additional experiments if requested by the reviewers. It is also important that raw data and reagents used in the manuscript are easily accessible to whomever is taking over. He can certainly deal with edits to the text himself, but it seems unlikely that he'll have access to time, resources, and facilities to complete these experiments himself.
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Re: Leaving postdoc for industry - publications

Postby Nate W. » Tue Sep 06, 2016 3:22 pm

Dear S. Wite,

I am sorry that your husband is having to go through this. Before he leaves, I would make sure that he prepares a draft of the paper(s) and submits a copy to the journals. It will take about 4-5 weeks after the submission to get reviewer comments, unless it was rejected by the editor initially. Your husband wants to know what it is take in terms of new experiments and manuscript revisions to get it published (i.e. timeline); before he leaves. Of note, you can't submit a paper to multiple journals at the same time to speed up the publication process.

Make an electronic copy of all drafts and original figures. The PI is also obligated to provide you with all reviewer comments and where he intends to send it. Save all emails to editors and reviewer comments. If the PI tries to hide where he is going to send the paper, he should talk with the Dean. The ORI allows the authors the right to copy figures, drafts, and reviewers comments. If the PI becomes a real bully, talk with the ORI about this. The settle matters of misconduct and plagiarism.

The PI and the University have a vested interested in publishing your husband's findings. The paper will get published but it might not be in a top journal given the time constraints. Especially, if the reviewer comments involve sizable experimental revisions. Your husband (and PI) might have to lower their publications standards. My main concern is that given the PI's behavior, he will start badmouthing your husband's accomplishments and abilities with future employers.

One trick you might try is to find a trusted colleague at your institution who serves as a editor on one of your target journals and let him review the paper informally. Explain the situation to him and then provide comments to your PI. If the colleague likes the paper, he can possibly shepherd the paper through the process rather quickly.

http://ori.hhs.gov/
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Re: Leaving postdoc for industry - publications

Postby Dick Woodward » Tue Sep 06, 2016 4:48 pm

All of the comments seem to provide excellent advice, although I think that Nate's comment about submitting a manuscript to the journals may be counterproductive - after all, the submission should come from the PI. (I may have misunderstood Nate here - if he is suggesting that your husband prepare the manuscript for submission by the normal channels, Nate is correct.)

D. Martin makes an interesting point - if your husband is named as an inventor on patents, this can be very important in industry. Papers are nice, but patents make money. As a long-time industry person, with all things being equal, my preference would go to the scientist who knows how to invent things that can be patented rather than the scientist who knows how to get stuff published.

One man's opinion...

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Re: Leaving postdoc for industry - publications

Postby Nate W. » Tue Sep 06, 2016 7:56 pm

Dick Woodward wrote:All of the comments seem to provide excellent advice, although I think that Nate's comment about submitting a manuscript to the journals may be counterproductive - after all, the submission should come from the PI. (I may have misunderstood Nate here - if he is suggesting that your husband prepare the manuscript for submission by the normal channels, Nate is correct.)

D. Martin makes an interesting point - if your husband is named as an inventor on patents, this can be very important in industry. Papers are nice, but patents make money. As a long-time industry person, with all things being equal, my preference would go to the scientist who knows how to invent things that can be patented rather than the scientist who knows how to get stuff published.

One man's opinion...

Dick


Dick you make a excellent point. Dick's point, I believe, is to make sure that your husband is aware that only the PI should submit the paper. Otherwise, this will only make matters worse for your husband.

What I am suggesting is that the husband make sure he prepares a draft of the paper(s), let the PI submit (not him) the paper to the target journals, and then plan experimental revisions based on reviewer comments before he leaves.. My thinking is that this will ensure that your husband remains first author and gives him a time table and plan on what needs to be done before his findings can be published (and a good estimated leaving date). If the first author doesn't do this, the PI might be inclined to give first authorship (or exclude your husband's contributions) to anyone else in the lab for just getting the findings published. We all know that writing a paper and addressing reviewer comments is hardly the bulk of what goes into an excellent paper; why risk losing your authorship?

I have seen this scenario happen when a postdoc left for a new job while several papers were being reviewed and prepared. The post-doc was excluded as first author on a paper he was preparing and the second author was replaced as first author when the postdoc left. By preparing a draft and letting the PI submit the paper, you have a track record (or paper trail) that ensures the PI will not change his mind on authorship and that you can hold him accountable if does change the authorship.

What you need to know quickly is what key experiments need to be done? One journal (at a time) takes 4-5 weeks before you'll receive comments. Plan accordingly. The manuscript revisions can be done by email, not the essential experiments (w/o potentially diminishing authorship).
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