How To Collaborate

Success as a researcher is measured by numbers of papers. The number can be increased by collaborating. It is important to follow these simple principles in order that you will be able to write more than one paper with each collaborator.

  1. Collaboration is all about doing the research. There is no need to worry about a protocol for authorship of papers in advance. This is much better determined after the work has been done, and preferably less than a day  before the submission deadline.
  2. In order to develop collaborations, do not wait to be asked by others; show initiative. Invite yourself along to other institutions in order to collaborate with people there. Experienced researchers can often do this and get the host institution to pay.
  3. A handy trick for meeting new collaborators is to “just drop in if you are in the area”. For example, if you are visiting Backwoods college, Southern California, it is entirely in order to just “drop by” MIT.
  4. Give lots of talks to expose yourself to potential collaborators.
  5. Be a supervisor.
  6. Whilst a collaboration with one other person is already good, a collaboration with many people is better as you can sometimes avoid doing any work whatsoever; see also supervising.
  7. The point about collaborating is that you are no longer obliged to keep commitments. It is perfectly reasonable  to promise to do work; just do not confuse that with actually doing it.
  8. Do not presume that your collaborators are very careful. If you pass on a draft and they correct some “mistakes” of yours, do not hesitate to “uncorrect” them back to their original state. This helps educate your collaborators.