Weird question about potential collaboration / etiquette etc

12-Nov-19, 11:19
edited about 8 minutes later
Avatar for Tudor_Queen
posted about 6 months ago
Hi there,

I'm working on some data (with a professor I've collaborated with in the past). The stats I need to do are pretty complex and so I'd dropped a line to an author of a stats book I'm using just asking him to clarify something (I often do this and usually get helpful replies from people). Anyway, he has very helpfully replied saying why don't we Skype and talk about it in more detail. I'm thinking, wow that is great and how nice of him. But then I'm also thinking since he would be giving his time to help me perhaps the expectation or implication would be that he becomes a collaborator on the project. I may be getting ahead of myself here, but the reason I am being cautious is that I wouldn't want to initiate something like that when it isn't my data and it is a joint project in collaboration with someone else. I'd have to ask my collaborator - but doing that now wouldn't be appropriate when it might not even come to that! So in a nutshell - I emailed this person asking for some general stats help based on a chapter in his book - he seems to want to help which is great - but I am worried that I might end up stepping on toes by meeting on skype and actually getting his input on the analysis. Help?

I hope this makes sense and I would appreciate any thoughts from those more experience than I am in this world of collaborations and potential collaborations.

12-Nov-19, 15:22
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 6 months ago
You are probably overthinking this a bit but I have learned not to trust anyone in academia so you are right to be at least aware of the potential for problems up front.

To protect yourself I would be very clear about what specific questions I wanted to ask and to limit that number.
You also have a chance to network with someone who could be a potential future collaborator. From that perspective I would focus on developing the relationship more generally.

If you are put on the spot tell him you will seek clarification from your supervisor.

Sounds very positive at this stage though.
13-Nov-19, 11:05
Avatar for Tudor_Queen
posted about 6 months ago
Cheers! I actually find it a bit strange... my question could just be answered in an email.
14-Nov-19, 13:27
edited about 27 seconds later
by rewt
Avatar for rewt
posted about 6 months ago
This might be a bit late but you can just say that it isn't your data. He will understand that means you can't promise authorship and can decide appropriately.
14-Nov-19, 17:21
Avatar for Tudor_Queen
posted about 6 months ago
Thanks rewt. It's not too late, and that is a good idea.


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