2MCs for Research

2MCs for Faculties

Circumstances Arise

As a professor, you find a poor quality paper in a field close to yours was published in a journal. It used measurements similar to ones you had published 2 years earlier. At the time you published, you had reviewed the literature carefully and there were no prior publications. The paper referred to an abstract of theirs, published 3 years earlier, as a way to establish priority. What do you do?

Familiar Grant Proposals
As a Second-year assistant professor, you are instructed to work with a new faculty member who has received an endowed chair. He came highly recommended, however, upon further collaboration with him you realize that he did not shred any of the grant proposals that had reviewed for NIH. Now you have a hunch that he used those grant proposals to come up with ideas. Recently you have been adamantly unwilling to help in the responsibilities required to write a grant proposal, and now the assistant professor is frustrated with you as well. What do you do?

Reputation before Authentication

You are a junior faculty member at a university. While reviewing the paper of a senior colleague in your institution, you sought out other papers this individual has written to assist in your review writing. While reading the papers, you recognize that the large data set used in the paper you are reviewing seems to have also been used in various forms in other papers. You have a hunch that the data is the same but in different orders and the new data is not enough to warrant a new paper. What do you do?


2MCs for Researchers

A Friend’s Dilemma

You are a research assistant and your colleague expresses concerns about her collaborator’s non-transparent research practices. You decide to help out and look into the data. While you cannot find concrete evidence of fraud, you have the word of the collaborator and your own skepticism as his “interesting” results. When the idea of confronting the researcher is floated your friend is worried that the researcher will leave the project. What do you do?

Collegiate Etiquette

You are a senior researcher and a junior colleague asks you for help on a project by providing a reagent, which you are happy to do. After a while, the junior colleague publishes the paper, listing you as a second author. What do you do?

Cross-Cultural Misunderstanding

You are the lab chief and the current PI is creative and enthusiastic about his work. The PI often describes potential experiments by concluding what he expects the results to look like. Your research assistant runs the experiments for him, you find results that corroborate his expectations almost perfectly. One day, the PI comes to you and claims the data is fraudulent. What do you do?

Interpersonal Conflicts

You are a researcher at a lab and a colleague of yours is at odds with the lab chief. The colleague then decides to leave the lab in pursuit of another program. The colleague who left is the only one who can correctly complete the statistical analysis required for your joint project, but after leaving fails to do so. What do you do?

Mice Lab

As a research assistant, you find out that your lab chief recently hired a Ph.D. student to administer a drug to mice and observe the effects. The student reports at meetings that he has been injecting the drug and observing the animals, but that he is finding no effects, which the lab chief found surprising. Other people in the lab have told you that they have not seen him working with the mice, nor has he reported his findings on the mouse cage card. The lab chief confronts him and he confesses that he is under a lot of pressure which has led to anxiety that prevents him from working. What do you do?

Pain Levels Lab

You hire a research assistant to help you in your pain levels lab based on their knowledge and training when it comes to children. The assistant was to get data conserving pain levels from the children after they wake up from their surgery. The research assistant then voiced concern about not being allowed in the hospital and you specifically remember emailing the staff of the hospital to allow the research assistant access. Later on, it was found the assistant was rarely there when the children woke up. When the assistant was there, the methods differed. What should you do?

Resources Stretched Thinly

You submit a proposal for your multi-site project and the system in place demands that you deliver what was promised but your budget is now cut in half. Now you realize that there is no possible way to deliver what is wanted with so few resources. What do you do?


2MCs for Post-docs

Intellectual Property Issues

You are a post-doc and you are hoping to get a bit of assistance from a researcher with more experience. The individual that you found brings a Ph.D. student along and after the collaboration is done they publish a paper with the Ph.D. student as the first author. You are thanked in the footnotes. What do you do?


2MCs for Graduate students

A Delicate Negotiation

You are a Ph.D. Student working with a student from another university on a collaborative grant. You shared a theoretical framework that you had developed with the other student, and then did not hear anything in response. After a while, the student finally shared a copy of her dissertation with you. You noticed that she had used your theoretical framework without attribution. What do you do?

Authorship Prestige

Your advisor asks you to add a lab technician as another author for a research paper, even though the technician did not do any work on this particular paper. Your advisor tells you that you need to do this for the technician who is attempting to get admitted into graduate school. What do you do?


You are a grad student who has written a computer program to help your advisor. A visiting faculty member comes to work temporarily in the lab and brings a set of data that the two of you analyze together using your program. The visiting faculty member then publishes a paper and does not give you credit. What do you do?

The Power Of Documentation

You are a graduate student working with a colleague on a manuscript. During the later stages of the project, you realize that your colleague removed a reference that was appropriate for the techniques used during the study and substituted it for a reference to their thesis, which appears to not match with the techniques used during the study. She also added her Ph.D. advisor to the paper, although the advisor had not contributed anything to the manuscript. What do you do?


2MCs for Publishing boards

Issues Journals Face

You are a board member of a prestigious journal. A manuscript submission comes to you that has a very small sample size, and you send back to the authors suggesting that they need more statistical power. The authors resubmit the paper after only a few weeks with a significantly larger sample, and exactly the same descriptive results (Mean and Standard Error). Statistically, this is impossible given the dramatic increase in sample size. What do you do?


2MCs for Staffs

Horses Will Not Always Drink

You are a statistical consultant. You work with scientists who seek your expertise in statistical analysis. Most of the time, however, they do not like your answer and will do the analysis their own way. You are generally credited on their research when it is published, whether or not they took your professional advice. So far most of the people do good work, however, the most recent study used techniques that were fundamentally misaligned with the data. What do you do?


Other 2MCs

Authorship (Graduate version)
You are a beginning graduate student, having started in the program six months ago. Your advisor hands you a manuscript by one of the postdocs in your group and asks you to check the correspondence between numbers in a data sheet and the paper and to proofread it carefully …

Authorship (Undergraduate version)
You are an undergraduate research intern, just starting in a lab. Your supervisor hands you a manuscript by a postdoc in the group and asks you to check the correspondence between numbers in a data sheet and the paper and to proofread it carefully …

Smoking Gun
You had just become a postdoc for a PI who gave me data on 50 subjects to work with. However, the research coordinator, who was resigning, told you that fMRI scans had only been done on 6 of the 50 subjects and that the results did not support the PI’s hypotheses …

Intellectual Property – Copyright
A scientist is invited to give a talk at a conference, sponsored in part by a US scientific organization and in part by a non-US scientific society. A condition of participating is to upload a manuscript containing the essence of the talk prior to the conference …

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