On Friday, Vitae published my essay, “The Trouble With Collaboration” — check it out. I have broken my silence about a collaboration with a former professor of mine that he (unintentionally?) held up for years. With peers — people of relatively equal status in academia — co-authors who don’t do their part are eventually removed as authors. However, as I learned, neglectful co-authors in more powerful positions (your professors, mentors, or senior colleagues) are harder, or even impossible, to remove. Arguably, every exchange between co-authors and decisions made about a paper will be shaped by the imbalance of power among collaborators, from the direction a paper takes to where (and whether) it is submitted. As such, I strongly discourage working “across power lines”; in recognizing this is not possible in certain fields, I also offer advice for doing so if you must.
Also, check out my first Vitae post, “How I Came Out of the Liberal Arts Closet.“