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Ten Simple Rules for Building and Maintaining a Scientific Reputation

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Originally a 2011 article in PLOS Comp Biol, http://journals.plos.org/ploscompbiol/article?id=10.1371/journal.pcbi.1002108 presented as a lecture to the Morgridge Institute for Research, Madison, WI on December 14, 2016

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Ten Simple Rules for Building and Maintaining a Scientific Reputation

  1. 1. Ten Simple Rules for Building and Maintaining a Scientific Reputation Philip E. Bourne PhD, FACMI Associate Director for Data Science National Institutes of Health philip.bourne@nih.gov http://www.slideshare.net/pebourne
  2. 2. The history of the Ten Simple Rules series… http://collections.plos.org/ten-simple- rules
  3. 3. A group of PLOS editors were sitting around discussing publishing ethics and the topic of reputation came up.. What is it exactly? Ginny Barbour and I tried to write it down http://journals.plos.org/ploscompbiol/article?id=10.1371/journa l.pcbi.1002108
  4. 4. Quantitative Measures
  5. 5. Quantitative Measures But there is something less definable yet critical… Fair play, integrity, honesty and caring Something you don’t think about until you don’t have it anymore
  6. 6. A scientific reputation is not immediate, it is acquired over a lifetime and is akin to compound interest—the more you have the more you can acquire. It is also very easy to lose, and once gone, nearly impossible to recover.
  7. 7. Rule 1 – Think Before You Act Whatever you commit to a digital form will be with you forever….
  8. 8. Rule 2: Do Not Ignore Criticism Whether in your eyes, criticism is deserved or not, do not ignore it, but respond with the knowledge of Rule 1. Failure to respond to criticism is perceived either as an acknowledgement of that criticism or as a lack of respect for the critic. Neither is good.
  9. 9. Rule 3: Do Not Ignore People
  10. 10. Rule 4: Take Publishing Seriously It is THE major reflection of your accomplishments (unfortunately) • Only author what you wrote • Position yourself appropriately in the author list • It is the footprint of your academic accomplishments
  11. 11. Rule 5: Always Declare Conflicts of Interest (COI’s) • How to define a COI? – You have a sense of unease about what you are about to do – Ask your mentors whose reputation you appreciate/respect – Talk to your institutions ethics office • Don’t be swayed even in the current hyper- intensive research environment
  12. 12. Rule 6: Do Your Share for the Community – It Shows Eventually • Don’t turn down a review request and they complain that your paper review is slow • Don’t avidly consume public data and be slow to make your available • Don’t just attend meetings, organize them • Put back more than you take
  13. 13. Rule 7: Do Not Commit to Tasks You Cannot Complete • Failing to complete tasks becomes known – and is sometimes documented e.g. journal management systems • Used judiciously saying no can build your reputation, not diminish it
  14. 14. Rule 8: Do Not Write Poor Reviews of Grants and Papers • Do not push your own work • Be forthright and honest • Sign your reviews • Scientific reputation is pervasive among NIH staff (I did not fully realize this since I went from PI to fed) • Again journal management systems allow editors to rate reviewers
  15. 15. Rule 9: Do Not Write References for People Who Do Not Deserve It • What if you do? – The requestor may get to learn of your negative review – The person requesting the review will learn that you over stated the case soon enough which in turn will reflect back on your reputation
  16. 16. Rule 10: Never Plagiarize or Doctor Your Data • Digital tools make this easy to do, but also easier to detect – if found out the implications are severe – follow journal guidelines • Always openly document what you have done to the data
  17. 17. Postscript Rule 11: Even the Most Seemingly Innocent Material Can Impact Your Reputation ... This article was a case in point.. Competing interest statement of an author was missing and questioned http://journals.plos.org/ploscompbiol/article/comment?id=10.1371/annotation/08a7 dca3-3ede-4491-8260-1c9e86806ed1