Managing Publication Jealousy in the Lab
By Dora Farkas on July 27th, 2012
I took over a nearly-completed project left behind by a grad student and my PI listed me as first author on the paper since I completed the project and wrote the manuscript. It is clear that several people in the lab resent the fact that I was given what they call an “easy paper” in my second year and now things are tense in lab. Is there anything I can do to ease the tension?
-Anonymous, grad student
Congratulations on publishing a paper during your second year in graduate school. Since you finished the project, wrote the manuscript and revised it you are rightfully the first author. I suggest not taking the resentment felt by others personally. Their publication jealousy is probably due to frustration with their own research, and it is not your job to make them feel better.
I recommend that you focus on developing a professional working relationship with your lab mates, such as making sure there is clear communication about shared workspace, instruments and reagents. Once a professional relation is developed, your lab mates will view you more positively and it will probably ease their resentment.
Dora Farkas, Ph.D. is the author “The Smart Way to Your Ph.D.:200 Secrets from 100 Graduates,” and the founder of PhDNet, an online community for graduate students and PhDs. You will find links to her book, monthly newsletters, and discussion board on her site. Send your questions to DearDora@benchfly.com and keep an eye out for them in an upcoming issue!
Stay tuned for the next Dear Dora in two weeks! In the meantime, check a few of Dora’s recent posts:
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- Is a Publication Gap on Our CV a Job Killer?
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- My Boss’ Spouse: A Spy or Civilian in Lab?
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Submit your questions to Dora at DearDora@benchfly.com, or use the comment box below!