How much ownership can I take on paper / analyses etc

posted
10-Aug-18, 01:08
edited about 25 seconds later
Avatar for Tudor_Queen
posted about 1 week ago
Hello,

Does anyone there sometimes struggle to work with / for others when the work is shared and yet they are doing a task - such as analysis or writing up? I keep thinking is this what the person wants... rather than just being free and able to do what I'm good at without questioning myself. Any empathy if you've been through this before and/or strategies for dealing with this would be appreciated. I think I'm just so used to working by myself. I have no problem taking initiative usually.

It's darn annoying as I just need to get this thing written up. You know how there are so many little (and larger) decision which you take yourself when the work is fully yours - you know - not to present certain things for brevity... sometimes it is hard judging whether I can just go ahead and do something or need to check with the person I am working with first.

Ps. When I say working with, I mean in a student - supervisor capacity. But it's not my usual supervisor and I feel somewhat like I don't want to keep emailing them about small things. Especially as I will be first author on this piece. Can I just go ahead and do it how I want it, changing things somewhat from what was presented earlier, as she will then be able to comment on the draft and suggest/make further changes (or putting things back in) if she wants to?

Sorry for the lengthy ramble when it probably could have been two sentences. I'm tired!
posted
10-Aug-18, 08:02
by eng77
Avatar for eng77
posted about 1 week ago
Hi Tudor_Queen. I have not been through this but I will comment on the part about asking and Emailing about small details. I personally feel shy about asking and sometimes I tend to delay work because of not asking. If you are that kind of person, I would suggest to go ahead with your way and ask their feedback when the paper is in a reasonable state.
One of my supervisors did not like to give feedback before the paper is revised by several sudents and is already in a good shape. I would suggest if you can "guess" what they mean or want, go with it. If it is really a blocking point, you may email them.
posted
10-Aug-18, 10:21
by rewt
Avatar for rewt
posted about 1 week ago
Hi Tudor queen, I have the exact same problem!

My supervisor gave me a huge data set and said: "write a paper with these conclusions". I keep getting lost among it all wondering how do I do this. When I ask her questions about it, I get vague 4-word answers. When I say we need to change the conclusions I get "but that won't get us further grant money". I am literally supposed to make up some convoluted logic scheme that ties the data to her conclusions. You are not as extreme as I am (you at least get first author) but I feel your pain.

But you are the first author, so write a draft and give it to her/him. If they have major issues ask them to rewrite it themself. You can include whatever you want as you are first author and if she doesn't agree say, it doesn't flow. Take a bit of confidence as they wouldn't have asked you to do it if they didn't think you could do it. You are becoming an academic, not just a student anymore, so you can make those decisions. And if they respect you they will listen to your opinions. At least they have specified the conclusions they want.
posted
10-Aug-18, 11:25
Avatar for TreeofLife
posted about 1 week ago
I would just write it how you want. Honestly the other person probably doesn't care as long as they don't have to do it and they get their name on the paper. They will make their corrections later.
posted
10-Aug-18, 17:14
edited about 17 seconds later
Avatar for Tudor_Queen
posted about 1 week ago
Thanks folks :-)
posted
11-Aug-18, 01:23
edited about 2 minutes later
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 1 week ago
I have worked on papers with more than one contributor.
They were science papers so I don't know how different it is for you but here was my experience.
Each contributor was allocated a specific piece of work and it was down to each contributor to fully analyse their own data including the provision of tables or graphs unless the main author decided to use his own preferred graphing app.
The main author then ties it all together.

I would have found it very odd to be expected to take someone else's data and fully analyse it for them. My response to that sort of request would have been concise and blunt whether it had come from a colleague, my supervisor or another academic at a remote institution :-D
There is a reason why I am better left to work alone :-D

If however you want to go ahead with this, I would write it in whatever style you want. Once you are handed the raw data, all responsibility is passed to you. I wouldn't get wound up trying to second guess what the other person wants. If there are key problems for you in terms of the story of the entire work, you should talk to them. Good and regular communication is essential for successful collaborative work. You don't want to have a patchy story or spend 18 months trying to get the thing accepted for publication. Sketch the story out and get all participants in the same room to agree. This shouldn't be a problem if the participants are truly collaborative as a group of equals.
posted
11-Aug-18, 11:45
Avatar for Tudor_Queen
posted about 1 week ago
Hello! Briefly - to clarify misunderstandings (I didn't explain properly). This is a joint effort - I analayzed the data under their supervision as they are more experienced in the analytic method. You're right - we need to have a conversation and agree on our "story". I'm actually only on the writing up the results bit and getting a bit ahead of myself (I like to have the whole paper mapped out in my head and use that to shape how I present the results - which is why I'm jumping ahead like this). I'll just chill out and write up the draft results section and then share them and suggest that we discuss the "story" for the paper. Cheers all!
posted
12-Aug-18, 01:22
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 1 week ago
Yes I think that is the best approach. When everyone has written their part it will look like a dogs breakfast at first. Once a single person then takes on the for al editing process it will start to take shape,

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