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Wednesday, October 03, 2007

I don't understand my advisor

A labmate and I went to the field last year and found very few research organisms. We came up with a little project based on a crazy observation we made and also on what kind of data we could take that could be treated independently enough to do good statistics on and still maybe get a publication out of the trip.
Turns out, that data is really cool. And important. And it could be big. BIG. Or it might go somewhere smaller but I have no doubt it will go somewhere and that is great news for a field based, non-dissertation project.
Well, we are putting the finishing touches on the manuscript before it goes out for friendly review and had a meeting today to discuss the final figures, who to send it to, etc. My advisor comes out of nowhere telling us that he doesn't want to be on the paper.
I don't get it. It is his established system and field site, his partial financing of the trip, his time in the field and his input as we were re-grouping to come up with this project in the first place. He usually is not on publication from students' dissertation work but this isn't! As far as the work is concerned, he is very pleased and was the one to suggest sending it to an higher impact journal in the first place so it doesn't seem that he is distancing himself from it because it is of poor quality. Perhaps he is just crazy. Anyone have any better ideas or interpretations?

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps he feels it is time for you (plural) to stand alone. Perhaps this is a pat on your backs or a vote of confidence from him. It doesn't have to be negative.

9:17 AM  
Blogger Amanda said...

My research adviser in grad school was a little loopy at time too. Trying to understand him got to be a little frustrating. Eventually I just learned to trust him because I knew that he had my best interest at heart the whole time.

I'm sure that in some weird, unknown way, your adviser is planning something to have your best interest at heart too. You'll probably figure it all out when you're least expecting it.

Congrats on the publication though - that's always exciting.

10:07 AM  
Blogger OkayAwesome said...

In the spirit of delurking, and since yours is a blog I often read, I will add my two cents.
If I got this reaction from my advisor (former), I would assume: 1) he/she is busy, cant take on more, 2) he/she has faith in your project/writing etc, 3) he/she wants you to have publications that make you look independent.

I agree with posters...sounds like a good thing.

2:32 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

I think he's doing it in your best interests. You did all the work, and he probably wants to make it look like it. My step-advisor is always telling me that I need to be the one to send out the update email to the rest of the lab, etc. That's a lot better than an advisor that wants to take credit for everything you do.

1:11 PM  
Anonymous Amelie said...

Maybe he wants you to get all the credit? I don't know your advisor, so it's hard to tell, but that would be my positive interpretation.

1:47 PM  
Blogger DancingFish said...

Thanks for all the positive comments! I think it is a positive thing. It was just completely out of left field at the time and at the end of the project so it took me by surprise. Plus, I don't agree with taking him off of it so that is probably also why I don't understand too well.

2:12 PM  

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