The Who’s Who of Grants: Addressing myths about cover pages, status, and credit

A lot of ink has been spilled (bits transferred? attention drained? bandwidth clogged? liquids imbibed? anachronistic metaphors tortured?) with various arguments about the hierarchical nature of science and the race to better position oneself versus one’s colleagues. Whether it’s questions of appropriate authorship, proper acknowledgement, or implicit vs explicit signals for the valuation of individual contributions, it seems like there’s a new discussion every week. Many of these arguments seem to break down around the point where it’s realized that field A, sub-field 1 and field B, sub-field 6 have strikingly different cultures surrounding these issues and the present lessons/problems/solutions from A1 may run counter to the lessons/problems/solutions in B6 even though both use the same short-hand: postdoc problems, authorship problems, tenure credit.

These ongoing cultural dialogues spill over and often get mixed into the proposal and merit review process leading to a proliferation of different beliefs, local customs, and inherited “understandings” of how the system ought to work in your favor if only you had the “right sort” of partner, reviewer, history, etc. In DEB, this is manifest in questions about professional titles, proposal cover pages, biographical sketches and project responsibility.

In this post, we address some of the most frequently encountered myths in this area, with explanations of DEB processes and the supporting NSF policies. Continue reading