What I did when someone stole my baby

Aug 12 2016 Published by under Uncategorized

Here is the first post, written in throes of agony.  Note MC is the mutual colleague who gave me good consul  and LA/BD is what I referred to the person who stole my baby.  Probably worth reading the first two parts for context on this. First, what I sent to her. Stuff in [brackets] are comments to you, gentle reader, an not things I actually said. This is also edited down a bit, taking out sciency-stuff.

Hi [LA/BD],

I just saw the paper from your group on [description of my last grant proposal that you stole]. I really liked it [OK, I didn't really like it, I did like the science well enough, though]. I’m sure you know this is something I’ve been interested in for a while. I’m interested in exploring a potential for collaboration for looking at the neural basis of [this topic] both in animal models and translated to humans.  

Firstly, I’ve attached an older paper, where I [did something very much like what you did in your paper, but didn't bother to cite me...], but using a different paradigm than in your study. I’m working on a more sophisticated version of this technology and have some preliminary data in animals. Eventually I'd like to do a more clinical study using this technology. This could be one place we could work together.

Secondly, it might worth doing something similar to your study, but in animals, where we could collect much more detailed physiologic data, [examples of things she can't get in humans].

Finally, I’d love to do this in some other animal models I’ve developed, and measure the impact of any intervention [on other clinical entities]. Let me know what you think. Maybe we can take some time to talk at MC's big thinktank in the Fall.


Short clarification, MC, the mutual colleague, is hosting a small one day meeting, calling it a thinktank, to discuss what the interesting questions are, and how we can foster collaboration amongst individuals for various (mostly younger) people doing this work. I think me and LA/BD are the only Olde Fartes invited.

Her Reply:

Hi Potnia

Great to hear from and I would welcome the opportunity to discuss using this in your animal model, its very hard to get at mechanisms in humans so this would be great.  Yes, lets discuss at MC's group meeting .  Thanks for sharing the paper, this would be an exciting thing to do,


There is much more snark that could be said. But taking the high road here will get more science done.

3 responses so far

  • Sam says:

    It might be that it's Friday, but I'm missing where the snark should go. It all seems reasonable.

  • EPJ says:

    Potnia, do you think that the mystery of getting ahead with somebody else baby/idea could be improve/neutralized by decentralization of funding or of peer review?

    You know, sometimes people actually think is their baby, tell you so, but it is actually the other way around, and go ahead and act on that belief, but the 'boomerang effect' happens, and there are non official consequences to that, and a waste of time on damage control time rather than in advancing science.

    Shouldn't be better to have an official policy of informing the people with wide overlapping interest and make funding and work decisions based on that?

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