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Rule 11: Avoid projects under joint supervision

Posted by PLOS_CompBiol on 26 Feb 2008 at 14:36 GMT

Originally submitted as a Reader Response on 19th Spetember 2007

As computational biology is a hybrid discipline, many projects have more than one PI (e.g. one wet, one dry), which, while offering potential for high impact work, also presents a simple recipe for conflict. If dual supervision is a part of the deal, it is critical to discuss both line management as well as authorship contributions before starting work. Caution should be doubly applied to joint supervision by couples (married or otherwise), a situation which has potential in-built conflicts of interest.

Submitted by: Casey Bergman
Occupation: Lecturer
University of Manchester

RE: Rule 11: Avoid projects under joint supervision

PLOS_CompBiol replied to PLOS_CompBiol on 26 Feb 2008 at 14:46 GMT

Originally posted as a Reader Response on 5th October 2007

Casey, I agree with most of your response. But shouldn't your title be: "Approach joint supervision projects with caution" rather than "avoid"? As you state yourself, the payoff for a joint wet/dry project can be really big. My suggestion would be to look for those labs that are well-known for working together, and have been working together for some time. Going into a collaborative lab that has a history of good science, and where the PIs and staff have established a good rapport and work habits over time is much less risky than going into novel collaborations.

Submitted by: Iddo Friedberg
Occupation: Research Associate
University of California, San Diego