Things to never ever ever to do in writing your NIH proposal

Oct 07 2016 Published by under Uncategorized

Never ever fudge your publication record. Even if you are absolutely 100% totally sure that this paper will be out before study section, do not claim something as "in press" or "accepted" when it is not. Do not claim 14 pubs when your pubmed online bibliography has only 12.

A (slightly) more subtle corollary of this advice: if you submit a revised version of a proposal, it is not a good position to have the same four papers "in prep" or "submitted" that you did in the previous version (or even in a different version) that was 9 months to 2 years ago. If you haven't moved the papers in a year, take them off of your biosketch.

Study sections see these things. They comment on them. It reduces the confidence in everything else you say.

17 responses so far

  • drugmonkey says:

    Whoa, hold up. PubMed doesn't index everything.

    • becca says:

      Given the current state of PubMed, how *do* you ensure you aren't just missing somebody's papers? (I frequently see people who have some papers under F Lastname and some under FM Lastname, and there are an awful lot of J Lis out there. I know unique author numerical IDs would solve this, but we aren't there yet right?).

      I've also seen a lot of advance online editions of manuscripts come out before the Pubmed record comes up, so there's nothing inherently nefarious about 14 pubs listed and only 12 showing up.

      I'm sure someone somewhere has had 4 papers genuine completed papers that simultaneously took 2 years to wind their way through the system. But I can understand reviewers being distinctly unimpressed.

    • eeke says:

      DM, Pubmed does not index everything, but it allows you to manually add references (example, book chapters) to the "MyBio" section that you can link from the Biosketch. I think she is mostly referring to shit that isn't yet, or never will be, published.

  • drugmonkey says:

    Oh, and it's not supposed to be on the Biosketch at all if it is "in prep" or "submitted".

  • DJMH says:

    We can cite in the Research Plan though for "in prep", yes? Or is that frowned upon?

    • drugmonkey says:

      I do this, cite data figures this way for example, and I don't recall any reviewers saying this was bad. although actually I think I usually say "in progress" for anything that isn't submitted yet. As in "the study is still in progress". I don't like "in preparation", personally .

  • potnia theron says:

    yup, particularly if you've got a graph or table or data to put in.

  • potnia theron says:

    true, but its the in prep/submitted/in review stuff that are a problem

  • duke_of_neural says:

    My nobel prize is in prep. Can I list that on there? I'd only list the one in research, not the peace or literature ones.

  • AcademicLurker says:

    Ha! I've heard this same advice in terms of job interviews: Don't lie about papers you have in press at prestigious journals. Especially don't do that if one of the people interviewing you is on the editorial board of the prestigious journal in question.

    Apparently, the person giving this advice saw it happen.

    • Hah! I saw someone in a job interview lie about their HOBBIES on their resume. They claimed to do an unusual sport as an outside interest. They got interviewed by two people who do that sport weekly, and were unable to answer even basic questions about it.

      Just don't lie about anything in a biosketch/resume/CV. It is way too easy to get caught, and then people will remember you as a liar forever (especially the hobby guy!).

  • Newbie(ish) PI says:

    So if I want to list a manuscript that's in review on my biosketch and cite it in my grants, all I have to do is submit it to a preprint server, right?

  • Dave says:

    Do you pay attention though when late breaking info includes a paper formally accepted (post-submission materials)?

    • potnia theron says:

      There are ways to get that information to study section -- usually a request from the SRO to the applicant.

      I (when I can) check the online bibliography, but usually when I start reviewing which is a month before the deadline.

  • Ola says:

    My pet peeve on this topic, is double dipping on grants/papers in the progress report for a competing renewal app. One grant I reviewed simply listed 38 papers (in under 4 years) attributed to the grant. I pulled all 36 of them, and every. single. one. acknowledgesd 3 or 4 separate grants. By my reckoning there were maybe 5 relevant to the original aims and with the grant PI as last author. This was a senior PI, so there was no need whatsoever to embellish the progress in this way. Damn right I called it out in the review!

    When I'm doing a CR, I try to make a point of breaking down the papers in the pub list:
    1. Funded by this award and directly relevant to aims, PI as last author.
    2. Funded by this grant but different subject area (e.g. Postdoc did something for a paper and their salary is covered by this grant, but the science is outside scope of original aims). This group also includes papers which acknowledge the grant in the paper itself and are linked in NIHMS, and counted in RPPR.
    3. Collaborations, other papers published during this time, usually funded by other people's grants.
    4. Reviews, book chapters, editorials and other non-primary papers.

    Yes, item 1 is always going to be small (perhaps 1 or 2 a year), but it's better to be honest up front than have a reviewer call BS on your publication record.

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