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orange turtle

Can I include this in my CV? (if professor is claiming all the credit)

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So, I'm applying for scholarships (yahoo, it's that time of year!), and for Canadian scholarships, I have to include my supervisor(s)' CVs.

One of my professors created a paradigm that is widely used in my field. My lab partner and I now use this protocol to teach people in the field in several countries including Asia, South America, North America and Europe. This includes training people (online, in person if they visit, and making sure everybody implements it exactly as it should), helping them create their study protocol (e.g., population, how to approach a certain group, etc), implementing the protocol (e.g., feasibility, apparatus sourcing), troubleshooting (because things usually go wrong), etc..

Here's the problem! My professor then takes the names of all the people my lab partner and I train and work with and puts it on his CV as people he personally trains and works with and also reports this as output on his grants, leaving both our names out. He phrases his CV as "I personally (insert every thing my partner and I do + Professor designing paradigm 15 years ago + every RA's work 15 years since then)."

In reality, the extent of his involvement currently is he developed the original paradigm and he answers our questions if we have trouble or hit a dead end. He also signs off the permission slip saying we have permission to train. I fully acknowledge that without him, this paradigm doesn't exist and we wouldn't be doing our work today if he didn't design the paradigm and give permission for the use.

All I am saying is it would be nice if he included us as part of the team doing the work.

Does this mean I cannot include any of the work I have been doing in my CV? Will I just look like a big fat liar?

N.B., I have to include my professor's CV in my application.

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This is unfortunate but unless you want to fight this (meaning, going to the powers that be at the university and proving to them that he's claiming your work as his own), having this on your CV might raise questions you don't want to answer. And fighting your advisor, who seems to be a powerful famous person, may not be in your best interest. What I would suggest is approaching him with this question, but phrased slightly differently. Tell him you want to discuss the experience you gained in his lab in your application, and in particular the work you did with your lab mate training others using his technique, and ask him how he would advise you approach it. Assuming that he's been doing this for a while and he's had students successfully go on to other institutions and win fellowships (which I would assume is the case), he's got to have a way of handling this that helps both him and the student. One would also hope that he would have a way of discussing things in his LORs that wouldn't compromise anyone. It's unfair, but it might still be your best shot, so gauge his reaction and follow his lead. 

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Are you writing about the Canadian Common CV? I know that many Canadian fellowships use similar language to what you describe because when a prof in Canada gets grants, they need to justify their output and one of the outputs is training people.

Maybe this is a field-dependent thing, but other than the fact that your names are left out, everything sounds kosher to me. You and your lab partner are paid from his grant, I presume, so therefore all the work you produce is "owned" by the professor and the professor gets to claim credit in the sense that he applied for the grant money, and this was the good that came out of that money. Even if you are not fully paid by his grant, the protocol was created by him from some other grant money, presumably, so all output from that work is still claimable as part of his output.

What I mean is that there is really two types of credit. One is the intellectual/academic credit and you and your lab partner should get credit for this, since you actually carried out the training and the work. But the other type of credit is for grant accounting, and showing that previous grant awarded was money well invested. For this, the credit should go to whomever is the PI of the grant that funded all of this work. For example, there was a project where I worked mostly with a postdoc as my advisor but we both belonged to a lab run by a faculty member. I met the faculty member maybe twice per month, but in the end, I counted as a "qualified personnel" trained by the faculty member's grant, not the postdoc's (since the postdoc doesn't have a grant). However, the postdoc still could and should list me as a student they co-advised on their academic CV (not the one for funding applications though). 

So, this may or may not be a problem. If this is the Canadian Common CV that is used for applying to grants, then this CV is really just about grant proposals and accounting, and I wouldn't worry too much about it, unless you see other warning signs (see next paragraph). In this case, for your own application, you can still list that you were involved in training the people you trained. Similar to what fuzzylogician suggested, you can discuss this with your advisor without accusing them of anything---ask something like, "how would you advise me to write about [the work you did] in my CV?". It's okay for more than one person to get credit for training someone!

However, if this is not what I think it is, and this is just the prof's main CV and they go around claiming credit for all of your work and never talk about your contributions, then this is a big red flag. I am not quite sure what to do next, since you don't want to burn bridges and throw away relationships since the power is all against you. It really depends on what stage you are at...are you a new grad student? an undergrad about to finish? a grad student about to finish?

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@fuzzylogician and @TakeruK: the two of you are always such sound lifesavers on this board! Thank you. You are both right, of course. I will have to somehow bring this up, but ultimately, there isn't much I can do as I can't burn the bridge. (I didn't want to check though!) 

As for Takeruk's question: the credit claimed is on the Canadian Common CV, the "normal" paper academic CV, and the professor's CV on his website. So essentially, in every public and non-public domain of his work, he has claimed credit for the work my lab partner and I and other predecessors have done, without any hint we did it with him. We have just been written out altogether. All of them say "I personally train and (insert the rest...)" as opposed to "my lab and I train..." which would hint that there were other people involved.

As for what stage I am in, I am starting out in my career in terms of graduate training. However, I have been training people for several years as I worked in this field coordinating this professor's research and using his technique before going back to school. That's why he uses me to train people in the proper application of his technique. 

 

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21 minutes ago, orange turtle said:

 

As for Takeruk's question: the credit claimed is on the Canadian Common CV, the "normal" paper academic CV, and the professor's CV on his website. So essentially, in every public and non-public domain of his work, he has claimed credit for the work my lab partner and I and other predecessors have done, without any hint we did it with him. We have just been written out altogether. All of them say "I personally train and (insert the rest...)" as opposed to "my lab and I train..." which would hint that there were other people involved.

:( Sorry to hear that. I hope you are able to find a way to bring this up without burning bridges.

In terms of claiming credit for your own work, I think one thing you can do (in addition to what fuzzylogician already wrote above) is to be less specific on your own CV. When you have a public CV up (if you don't already have one), you can say that you have trained X people/groups in this protocol. You don't have to name them though. Most of the people that look at this CV (scholarship judges, random academics interested in you) won't need to know---they will be able to get the gist of it by knowing that you know this protocol well and you have experience training others. If you do apply for jobs, you will likely get asked more details in an interview and you can explain what you did (without mentioning what the prof is claiming credit). As I wrote before, more than one person can claim credit for a thing, usually.

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1 hour ago, TakeruK said:

:( Sorry to hear that. I hope you are able to find a way to bring this up without burning bridges.

In terms of claiming credit for your own work, I think one thing you can do (in addition to what fuzzylogician already wrote above) is to be less specific on your own CV. When you have a public CV up (if you don't already have one), you can say that you have trained X people/groups in this protocol. You don't have to name them though. Most of the people that look at this CV (scholarship judges, random academics interested in you) won't need to know---they will be able to get the gist of it by knowing that you know this protocol well and you have experience training others. If you do apply for jobs, you will likely get asked more details in an interview and you can explain what you did (without mentioning what the prof is claiming credit). As I wrote before, more than one person can claim credit for a thing, usually.

This. What's going to be important going forward, if you continue to work with this professor (which I would personally not be too happy to do), is to figure out what his LORs are going to say about your work in his lab. If he is not going to mention things you claim as some of your major accomplishments, well, you see the problem. Again, I suspect somehow that gets worked out assuming that his students do go on to other places and do successful thing, but there are several ways this can come back and bite you, so you should be careful. 

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@TakeruK and @fuzzylogician: I asked a professor (different department) somewhat off-hand what does one do with "this type" of work generally and she said it was quite unusual for someone of my level to train people although she says she agrees it was definitely training. She suggested I put it under "knowledge translation" or "volunteer work" under the Canadian Common CV (CCV) as that would make it raise less red flags of what is going on in this lab. Also "training" under the CCV often implies also having financial responsibility (as @TakeruK said) and overall responsibility (i.e., if screw up = point gun at you). At my stage, if I screw up, I can still look meek and somebody else has to answer for it :-) Which section I ultimately choose would depend on where I have less entries or where it might look more impressive.

I guess I could lead my discussion with the PI somewhere along those lines...and try and gauge, as you both say, what he might say in the LOR.

Thanks, both!

 

 

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Another way to look at it is maybe he did not mention the work you and your lab mates did because it's his CV and not yours. As others have already mentioned here, you should be able to state the work you did without being concerned about what is on his CV because people can be trained by multiple people, even to do the same set of tasks. One can't expect a person in such a high level position to have time to do everything and delegation is often necessary to make it possible complete all of the work that needs to be done.

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8 hours ago, thelionking said:

Another way to look at it is maybe he did not mention the work you and your lab mates did because it's his CV and not yours.

Ah, yes, I just wanted to make sure I didn't look like a liar, that's all. Thank you for sharing this perspective!

(I have to append my supervisor's CV with mine when I submit the application. I wanted to make sure it didn't look like I was misrepresenting myself by making the reviewers think I was claiming I did more than I did cause his CV would say he did all the work, and then here I am saying I did some of it...The forum had some excellent ideas for how to navigate it!)

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9 hours ago, thelionking said:

Another way to look at it is maybe he did not mention the work you and your lab mates did because it's his CV and not yours. As others have already mentioned here, you should be able to state the work you did without being concerned about what is on his CV because people can be trained by multiple people, even to do the same set of tasks. One can't expect a person in such a high level position to have time to do everything and delegation is often necessary to make it possible complete all of the work that needs to be done.

Just to be clear, delegating is perfectly fine, and it's true that more than one person can be involved in training someone. The concern here is solely because the supervisor claims to have "personally" done things that apparently they didn't. That speaks to a type of person that one should be very careful of. Beyond that, this is all pretty routine, including an advisor claiming work done in their lab by their students as part of their own accomplishments. PIs will often be the ones who come up with an idea, procure the funding, and recruit and train students, but then may not be directly involved in the actual day-to-day running of experiments; but they still have every right to claim co-authorship on work stemming from their various investments. 

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8 hours ago, fuzzylogician said:

Just to be clear, delegating is perfectly fine, and it's true that more than one person can be involved in training someone. The concern here is solely because the supervisor claims to have "personally" done things that apparently they didn't. That speaks to a type of person that one should be very careful of. Beyond that, this is all pretty routine, including an advisor claiming work done in their lab by their students as part of their own accomplishments. PIs will often be the ones who come up with an idea, procure the funding, and recruit and train students, but then may not be directly involved in the actual day-to-day running of experiments; but they still have every right to claim co-authorship on work stemming from their various investments. 

This is very true. Unfortunately there isn't much that can be done about what the prof chooses to write on his own cv. His decision to lie speaks more to his own sense of honesty, professionalism and integrity (or lack thereof). As long as he agrees with what the student writes on their cv then that is what matters the most at this point. Under normal circumstances, when applying for other types of scholarships and jobs, the student's resume won't be looked at alongside the prof's. So outside of this particular situation, it should no longer be an issue, I don't think. 

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1 hour ago, fuzzylogician said:

The concern here is solely because the supervisor claims to have "personally" done things that apparently they didn't. That speaks to a type of person that one should be very careful of.

I think @fuzzylogician hit the nail on the head.

Another student in my cohort is in an almost similar boat, although her PI doesn't say "personally" on the (PI's) CV, so it quite changes the dynamics and allows a wider range of interpretation of who has done what. And reading the PI's CV, one can usually assume, correctly, that there has been delegation for some tasks, even though everything in the PI's CV says "I train X and I did Y."

That PI also, apparently, told the student that she does mention in her LOR that she does say that the student trains other people.

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14 minutes ago, thelionking said:

Under normal circumstances, when applying for other types of scholarships and jobs, the student's resume won't be looked at alongside the prof's. So outside of this particular situation, it should no longer be an issue, I don't think. 

Yes -- again -- except for the LOR question. As long as the professor finds a way to mention @orange turtle's contribution to the training in his/her LOR, things are okay. If not, there's a problem, regardless of whether a committee is comparing CVs or just reading OP's SOP/cover letter describing this experience as a major accomplishment of theirs and then reading a LOR from OP's advisor that doesn't mention this at all. 

And -- again -- beyond this local question, I would personally seriously question whether this is someone I trust and would want to work with going forward. 

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@fuzzylogician and @thelionking: the orange turtle is sitting in her shell contemplating her future in this professor's lab. He, quite honestly, scares her a little. And the ethics part troubles her.

Priority right now is to get funding (LOR hinges on this PI's support for now as several letters are needed) so still stuck at the moment.

Luckily, I think...I have another supervisor. Although she can be interesting as well :-)

Thank you, both, and @TakeruK, for suggestions and advice.

 

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