I am a machine learning researcher, and my field is beginning to embrace the massive, multi-institution collaborations that have become common in other sciences. For example, I am a coauthor on this paper, which has 52 authors. I am also involved in on-going large collaborations organized by EleutherAI, Google, and HuggingFace.
It was recently pointed out to me that the US National Science Foundation requires disclosing all “Co-authors on any book, article, report, abstract or paper with collaboration in the last 48 months (publication date may be later); and [c]ollaborators on projects, such as funded grants, graduate research or others in the last 48 months.” (II-5e) The document also implies that people who are listed as collaborators are unable to review grant applications.
It seems very possible that I will have hundreds of collaborators in the field of natural language processing over the next year. However, I worry that this will make it very difficult for me to get NSF grants, if I collaborate with a significant portion of the community that has the same interests as I do.
How do researchers handle Conflict of Interest disclosures when they have hundreds of collaborators? I assume fields like physics and astronomy, which can have several hundred collaborators on a single paper, must have a solution, but I’ve been unable to figure out what it is. I am particularly interested in the NSF, but am also interested in hearing general answers about dealing with conflict of interest policies that require disclosing all co-authors.