Lab Manual & Policies

Principles

Flexible in everything, except ethics.

Relationships (professional, mentoring) should benefit both sides and both sides should feel that they are getting something out of it.

Different people will require different mentorship and work style. The same individual will require different mentorship and work style at different points in time. Generally, as you progress you are expected to become more and more independent in all fronts, but not everyone will progress at the same time.

English

The Lab works in English.

I understand that this is an extra burden if you have not worked in English before. However, I also consider it part of your training that you learn to work in an international environment (and, practically speaking, that means English-speaking). Also, note that if you stay in science, not being able to work comfortably in English is a major career handicap.

Thus, while, one-to-one meetings can be conducted in any language that both partners agree; in a larger group, stick to English. In particular, avoid side conversations in another language. Note that the point is that everyone feel included, thus it does not matter if I personally understand it; rather, everyone must understand and feel comfortable replying.

Similarly, internal emails should be in English. Here the goal is more practical: often you will want to later forward to others and English is the lingua franca.

Working hours

During weekdays, lab members are expected to answer emails the same day.

Other than that, feel free to adjust your schedule as you see fit. However, learning to work effectively within a flexible schedule can be very hard. So, more junior members of the lab are recommended to start with a roughly normal working schedule (9-ish to 5-ish) as a general guideline. Senior postdocs are expected to be self-managing.

While schedules are flexible, meetings should generally start and end on time.

Consider that the more people are attending a meeting, the costlier it is if one individual is late (if you are 10 minutes late for a meeting where 4 others were waiting, then you’ve cost the group 40 minutes).

You are expected to produce what would be reasonable to expect from a full time (40 hours per week) schedule. This will be discussed in your biannual meetings.

Biannual big picture meetings

We will have regular meetings to discuss the progress of your projects (depending on need, either weekly or fortnightly). In addition, every six months, we will have a one-on-one meeting focusing on your long-term evolution. This is a structured meeting (there is a checklist), so that we make sure not to forget anything, but generally speaking, we go over your career goals and progress and try to adjust course if necessary (or just evaluate what needs to be done next as part of your general progression).

These meetings are also for me to get feedback on how I am doing with respect to you.

Conferences

Every lab member can expect to attend one conference or similar event (summer school) per year funded by the lab. After the first year, however, they are also expected to present something at those events (talk, poster, …). If you want to attend more meetings, then it can be discussed, but generally speaking the consideration will be cost and time away.

Which conferences are most suited for everyone and how to fund the trips are part of the discusion in our biannual meetings and also will be discussed in lab meetings. Generally speaking, it is best if not everyone goes to the same meeting so that we are represented at more venues rather than being a large group at one “favorite” meeting.

When attending a meeting, remember that you are representing the whole group. Thus, you have a responsibility to engage with others and to engage in a way that is positive. If you do this, it will benefit you and the whole group.

Lab duties

Expect to spend around 15% of your time on general lab duties. This is expected as a matter of course and will not automatically entitle you to authorship on papers.

This includes things like attending and participating in the lab meeting, organizing lab events, maintaining lab resources (e.g., database downloads), engaging with visitors, helping new members settle in, &c.

It also includes doing small favors for other lab members (proof-reading a manuscript, helping debug random software issues, answering a few questions on a topic that you know best) that will not (and should not, ethically speaking) automatically result in co-authorships.

While doing too little of this is not good, doing too much can also damage your own projects. The 15% rule should be seen as a rough average over time. For example, if you are revising a manuscript for re-submission, it is normal that you will not have time for many of these things, but you should try to catch up with them at some point.

This is part of my checklist for major discussions.

Vacation

We follow the Fudan University rules, but on top of that, please let me know as soon as possible when you plan to take holidays.

Communication

Email is my prefered medium for non-throwaway communication: if you send me an email, I will read it.

Texting/chatting apps are great for short communications, but for anything serious, email is more permanent.

Code sharing

All code produced within the lab will be considered the intellectual property of the lab.

People should respect each others authorship and priority claims, but code should be usable by all.

If you leave the lab, everyone gets your code.

Example of what’s acceptable

Alice: Can I use the tool you talked about the other day?

Bob: Yes, but please do not publish results based on it before I get my own paper out.

This is fine, within reason: if Bob never gets around to wrapping up, then Alice cannot wait forever.

Example of what’s not acceptable

Alice: Can I use the tool you talked about the other day?

Bob: Yes, but if you run my code, you will have to include me as an author!

Bob may have done other work that should be credited with authorship in Alice’s paper, but just giving access to code that was developed for another purpose is not enough for authorship.

Wrapping up previous projects

Unless this is your first lab, it is normal that you will have projects that you are still wrapping up and take some time away from your work here. I understand that this is normal (been there, done that) and as long as it is not a major time drain, and you do wrap up in the first six months (not a hard deadline), it is fine if it takes away a few hours per week. You should also not include me as an author if I didn’t do anything except pay your salary while you were wrapping up a paper in the evenings. That would be unethical behaviour on our part.

However, do consider the possibility that I may be interested in participating. This is especially true if the project is still a bit further from the finish line.

Furthermore, if any outside projects touch on things that our lab does, then I think you have an obligation to think about any potential conflicts of interest: are you publishing on something that could potentially be (even partially) scooping some other lab project? In case of doubt, the correct thing to do is to bring it up in discussion.

If there are outside projects that are going to be a bit more than “wrapping up”, then we need to discuss them. If they are too far away from what the lab does, then it may be a problem; but if they touch on our work, then they might even be an opportunity for a new collaboration.

Similarly, if you have opportunities to collaborate outside the lab while you are here, this is encouraged as long as it aligns with our interests, but please discuss it with me. Again, me paying your salary will not entitle me to authorship by itself, but you should expect me to want to be involved.

Ethics

While a lot of this manual is flexible, unethical behaviour is taken very seriously and will not be tolerated.

Code of conduct

We expect cooperation from all members to help create a safe environment for everybody. The lab is dedicated to fostering an open and welcoming environment for everyone, regardless of age, body size, disability, ethnicity, sex characteristics, gender identity and expression, level of experience, education, socio-economic status, nationality, personal appearance, race, religion (or lack thereof), or sexual identity and orientation.

Gratious sexual language and imagery is generally not appropriate for any lab venue, including lab meetings, presentations, or discussions. Some projects of the group (including collaborations) may naturally result in discussions of sexual organs and behaviours. If these discussions are kept professional and are geared towards the advancement of research, they are not gratitous.

Harassment includes offensive verbal comments related to gender, nationality, gender identity and expression, age, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, religion, sexual images in public spaces, deliberate intimidation, stalking, following, harassing photography or recording, sustained disruption of talks or other events, inappropriate physical contact, and unwelcome sexual attention. Members asked to stop any harassing behavior are expected to comply immediately.

If you are being harassed, notice that someone else is being harassed, or have any other concerns, please contact me (Luis Pedro Coelho).

We expect members to follow these guidelines at any lab-related event.

Authorship

Our lab follows the ICMJE’s Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals.

As these guidelines leave a lot of situations in a grey zone, on papers from our lab (me as senior author), I will make the last call on authorship questions. On collaborative projects, we will defer to the senior author and/or collaboration agreements, but advocate our case based on these guidelines.

All authors are expected to read and provide feedback on drafts.

If you leave the lab and work you did here is later used on a manuscript, you will be credited using your Fudan affiliation (your new affiliation may be noted as a “Current Address” footnote). If you continue contributing after you leave, then it is also expected that you’ll include your new affiliation. Just looking over a draft and providing feedback is not enough for you to include your new affiliation. As a guideline: if you do enough work that, if you were someone else, that would be enough to include you as an author, then the new affiliation should be included. If not (and just reading, providing minor comments on a draft is not enough), then only your Fudan affiliation should be listed.

Scientific practices

Behaviour such as plagarism, misrepresenting your credentials, or data fraud will result in a complete loss of confidence in the individual responsible. Steps will be taken to avoid that the reputation of the whole group suffers because of the actions of a single individual.

Discussion of ethical issues are welcomed. I recognize that while there are clear cases of ethical and unethical behaviour, there are also many issues which may be debatable. Thus, they should be debated and discussed openly as early as possible rather than become a problem later.