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Leaving postdoc for industry - publications

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Re: Leaving postdoc for industry - publications

Postby D.X. » Wed Sep 07, 2016 2:24 am

Just a quick note - Science Magazine adheres to the Authorship criteria as defined by the ICMJE as I referred to in my above post. I would imagine all reputable journals endorse ICMJE guidelines for Aurthorship.

As mentioned this is backed by the ineternational academic medical community, industry, and serves as a platform for a legal/regulatory framework.

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Re: Leaving postdoc for industry - publications

Postby S. Wite » Wed Sep 07, 2016 10:23 am

Thanks to everyone for all the thoughtful comments. I believe that my husband is concerned more that the PI will drop him to 4th or 5th author (versus first or second), not so much that he'll be dropped completely from the paper. He is coming to terms with accepting that he forfeits this control when he leaves the lab. It hurts my heart that he won't really get the full "credit" for his hard work though. He is working to have a manuscript essentially ready for publication by the time he leaves the lab and I've told him to make sure he keeps a good paper/electronic trail of his work. I am glad to hear that the patents are viewed with equivalent importance as a publication. He's also presented some of his work at a conference.

He of course intends to document all the protocols, although I am not sure that there is anyone currently in the lab that is in a position to really take things over.
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Re: Leaving postdoc for industry - publications

Postby D. Martin » Wed Sep 07, 2016 2:11 pm

You know, tell him to let it go. I was left out of a paper all together (and I designed the protocol and did the first experiments b/c the person taking over the project was not being successful). I have my independent career and that paper does not matter at all to me (just as anecdote to my students). He should focus in getting ready for the transition.
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Re: Leaving postdoc for industry - publications

Postby Dick Woodward » Wed Sep 07, 2016 3:15 pm

I believe that D. Martin is providing you with good advice. For a few days, I have been wondering why the paper matters so much if your husband is moving into industry? Sure, it is nice to have another publication - it is a recognition of hard work. On the other hand, what is more important is doing a good job in the first industrial position. As has been mentioned many times before, the hardest industrial position to get is the first one.

It is up to your husband to do what's best for himself and his family, and if that means moving to industry, so be it. In this thread, there are a number of suggestions as to how to move on while respecting the PI, but at the end of the day, one paper more or less will not matter very much in the industrial sector.

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Re: Leaving postdoc for industry - publications

Postby Ana » Thu Sep 08, 2016 4:52 am

Moving from my PhD to my postdoc meant leaving papers behind that were almost finished, and seeing my data in other people's publications without my name on them years down the road. I left my postdoc also with work unfinished that didn't get to see the light, and the most painful was leaving my first industry position with two manuscripts that had been completed and not accepted at the first submission that because I wasn't at the company any more they just died like that.

When we are in research we will always have many manuscripts in progress, some already finished, some almost, and there is never an end to it. That means that when we leave a research position, at any stage of our careers, some of those manuscripts will be left behind. In many cases other people will pick up the work and dilute our contribution (or punish our departure, who knows). In other cases no one will complete them and years of work will end up in a drawer.

What's important is to understand that this has nothing to do with your husband in particular or with the fact that he is leaving for an industry position. This happens with everyone and you just have to move forward with your life. If moving to industry is what he wanted then he already got as many papers as he needed to get him to his next step, and that't the main use of authoring papers, to build your CV to get you to your next position.

Ideally if he can spend some time on the side helping get those papers through submission and revision he will still get proper authorship credit, but even if he didn't (or if he didn't try to fight for it) I think it is good to remember that what you explain is unavoidable in research. Otherwise we will never move on to another job, there will be always one more paper to be completed before leaving, to eternity!

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Re: Leaving postdoc for industry - publications

Postby Vay » Sun Sep 11, 2016 5:51 pm

This has happened to a person I know, whose PI threatened to do exactly what your husband's boss is threatening to do: demote her contribution to her main paper from 1-2 author to somewhere in the middle, all because she was planning to leave the academic track after graduation and did not want to stay for another undisclosed amount of time to finish that paper.

What she did was somewhat drastic and obviously showed that she no longer had any interest whatsoever in scientific research as a career (which is true), but absolutely in her right to do: after that threat, she turned around and pulled all her work from publication, basically preventing anything that she had worked on from being included in any future publication. As the creator of the data with records and notebooks to prove it, she claimed her right to refuse its publication, and the institution that we were at adheres pretty strictly to the rules about this.

Certainly this is not the ideal path for your husband if he doesn't want to burn bridges, but he also needs to understand that once he leaves academia, his priorities and what is important to him are bound to change. If he doesn't want to escalate the situation, it's time to emotionally begin pulling out, so he can focus on his new path. My grad school paper took until my second year in my job to be published, and now it doesn't really matter in my career; it's just nice to know it's out there. Would've missed the boat on a lot of opportunities that will affect the rest of my life if I had put my life on hold just for that!
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Re: Leaving postdoc for industry - publications

Postby Dick Woodward » Mon Sep 12, 2016 6:48 pm

Vay:

I would not call your colleague's actions "burning bridges"; "nuking bridges and scattering the ashes" would perhaps be a more correct description. This was an ill-conceived response.

I always advise people to follow this adage: don't burn (or nuke) bridges that you don't absolutely have to, and even then, sleep on it before you pull the trigger. While this sort of "revenge" can cause a momentary degree of satisfaction, you can never tell when something (or someone) will come back to haunt you. I have known of professors who have transitioned into pharma industry VPs - if you had done something like your friend did to one of those professors-turned-Vp, I can almost guarantee you that it will follow you around the industry - even though you may work for a different company. These people all know each other, and they talk.

Better to accept the downgrade in authorship than to start a war that may come back to haunt you.

One man's opinion...

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Re: Leaving postdoc for industry - publications

Postby Vay » Tue Sep 13, 2016 12:27 am

Dick, most definitely agree; this was meant to illustrate an extreme example of an outcome to a similar situation. This is likely not the path most people will want to take, especially since it definitely is a small world out here, unless one is really sure it's not going to come back to bite them later. In the case of the person I mentioned, it's actually unlikely that the person will ever cross paths again with their old mentor, so that's also likely why this particular path was taken.

I can't help noting that while it's always smart to play it safe in the OP's scenario in this situation, a "mentor" holding a mentee's authorship recognition (which in many ways is the most direct reflection of their personal value in the academic world) ransom, essentially, as a means of preventing their mentee from moving on, is also abhorrent to me. In the very least, I think it's worth pointing out as an example of insecure and poor leadership, and something to watch out for in the future.
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Re: Leaving postdoc for industry - publications

Postby D.X. » Tue Sep 13, 2016 2:40 am

Vay wrote:
What she did was somewhat drastic and obviously showed that she no longer had any interest whatsoever in scientific research as a career (which is true), but absolutely in her right to do: after that threat, she turned around and pulled all her work from publication, basically preventing anything that she had worked on from being included in any future publication. As the creator of the data with records and notebooks to prove it, she claimed her right to refuse its publication, and the institution that we were at adheres pretty strictly to the rules about this.



Just a comment: this is an inappropriate and wrong course of Action.

Always remember, the data belongs to the lab where you conduct Research and legally to the Institution. The data, also called intellectual property, is not owned by the student, post-doc, or employee. The laws are very clear here.

If one takes this course of Action then one opens themselves to legal Action and rightfully so. In other words if you take data way from teh lab including the PI, you deserve what you get, flat out - nothing and/or legal action. There are other courses of Action as described above that leave you on the righteous and less exposed path, you don't want an Alligation of data theft. No different in industry other than a legal Team will be on you before you can Count to 3.

So don't take data away from a lab, never ever, ever, ever, and certainly don't hold it hostage, that's asking for a Trouble.

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Re: Leaving postdoc for industry - publications

Postby Nate W. » Wed Sep 14, 2016 2:54 pm

Remember once the husband leaves, he is under no obligation to help the PI. I am indifferent about the possible actions of the husband.

However, the PI is completely wrong in their action to reduce authorship or to remove an author from a paper in order to keep them in their lab. This scenario is not commonly practiced in academia and most PIs make accommodations all the time. When I left an academic lab to a neighboring lab at a different University, the two PIs made an arrangement to where I could complete provisional experiments, as requested by reviewers, while employed in my new position.

What I worried about here is that the old PI is such a jerk, he is going to trash this guy in any future references this person might need. The academic PI here sounds like a selfish control freak. I would try to negotiate both the reference and how to handle the publications before I left. Maybe if the industry position is a research position, especially if there are shared interests, the industry boss might be willing to make arrangements for him to be able to complete any provisional experiments in his new job (in his spare time, of course).

I do think it is important to complete a draft and get it submitted for review before he leaves. If the PI is so unwilling to compromise on anything, just leave and never talk to the PI again. This is fair and I can understand why someone would do this. Also, I don't think it is unreasonable to talk with a department head or dean about this in order to forge a compromise. However, I wouldn't help the PI after I left for industry unless he compromised on both items. Good academic labs handle this situation all the time with controversy.

PS: You can't burn a bridge if a bridge was never formed in the first place. Maybe this bridge isn't worth associating with; you can be unfairly judged by the company you keep.
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