Saturday, March 15, 2014

Multiple Authors, Grants Raised, Getting the Research Done

1. We are in fields in which it is now the norm to have multiply authored publications. Perhaps, virtually none of one's work is singly authored.  Your co-authors may be graduate students, post-docs, other faculty, and directors of labs (who may have been the one who went out and got the research funds, and so are the PI). 

Now we might count articles discounting for joint authorship, where there were N articles, with M authors each, and say that you had published N/(M-1) articles, if M is greater than 2, and N/1.5 for M=2. Or some such. In any case, you don't want to say X published 24 articles and take that to be stronger than someone else who published 8 articles where they were the single author. And of course, one wants to take into account the strength of venue.  

One solution to compare the candidate or researcher with top-most others at the same stage in their careers in the same field, as well as with more typical researchers. This strikes me as more useful.

2. But what counts in the end is your contribution to scholarship and "advancing" the field, your ideas and discoveries and their impact.  I believe it would be useful for all faculty to write a one page statement (single-spaced), better less, where they describe their contribution to the field, and their contribution to joint research. Collaborators and external letter writers can judge those claims. 

3. It would help us to evaluate CV's and other such lists, if it were clear what role the person had in obtaining funding the research. Were they the PI, were there several more or less equal Co-PIs (I think there are restrictions on the number, so perhaps there can be only two Co-PIs), were they in charge of one project in the research grant, were they taking on a particular task. And if you are a Co-PI, please list the other PI. And it should be clear if the amount listed is before or after overheads. It's vital that none this not be fudged, because someone will check up and once there is a sense of unreliability in the CV, the rest comes under question.

4. Research faculty might well be expected to have raised their own grant monies. But I can imagine that their main role is making sure the research gets done (think of biostatisticians). A unit has to decide how to evaluate those contributions.

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