Yearly lab philosophy update

To try to get everyone on one page in our lab, upon my arrival in Grenoble I wrote a “lab philosophy1Maybe “written” is too big a word. The first draft was heavily inspired by Davide Crepaldi’s lab guide, which was in turn inspired by Jonathan Peele’s lab guide.. This lab philosophy is complemented by an OSF workspace that includes some useful R code, shared data (hidden from public view), the CRediT taxonomy to identify contributorship within our own lab, and a study protocol for social thermoregulation. When you want to do (open) science as well as possible, it is important to have some kind of shared understanding. That means, for example, creating templates so that master students, PhD students, and postdocs know what I have in mind when I want to do research. We have created, for example, a template for exploratory and one for confirmatory research.2We know that this dichotomy is overly simplistic, but it helps at least for students to structure their research. We have also started using these templates in our teaching (for example to help master students understand how to structure their project on the Open Science Framework). Creating the lab philosophy also allowed me to outline my approach to research and what students can expect from me.

However, it does not only allow me to communicate what I expect. It also allows the people that I work with to correct the process or get rid of tasks that may seem overly burdensome, not very useful, and too bureaucratic.3After all, I heard that the French don’t like bureaucracies….. Every year in September we get together to revise our lab philosophy, so the current draft is more a collaborative document than my lab philosophy. The goal of this post is therefore mostly to document that process. Here’s what we do:

  • Each member identifies around three things in the lab philosophy that they do not find useful/outdated.
  • Each member identifies around three things in the lab philosophy that they find very useful and absolutely want to keep.
  • Each member identifies around three things that they would like to add to the lab philosophy.

Following this process, the PI (me) collates all the information and puts it up to a vote amongst all the lab members. We then get together4“Together” this year will probably be a Skype call. (usually with good coffee) to update our lab philosophy and to commit to our new way of working for the coming year. This will also means reminding ourselves of things that we didn’t do sufficiently yet5I was rereading last year’s update and see that we did not adopt collaboration agreements, for example, and we need to do a better job updating our Research Milestones Sheet. and things that we think are going really well.  This year, we will also write a post to write what we have done during our update.

Perhaps you have a lab philosophy yourself. Or, you have comments/critiques/compliments on our lab philosophy. Post your comments and the links to your lab philosophies here, so that we can collect them, so that we can read them, so that maybe we can steal some of your practices, and so that other people who read this post can find lab philosophies other than ours.

This blog post was written by Hans IJzerman.

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