I have a problem...Once folks learn my academic specialty within the medical sciences and of my strong background in statistics, they often want to form a collaborating - mostly they want me to conduct analyses, develop the study methods, write methods, results and discussion sections of their manuscripts. All this in exchange authorship credits and no actual pay. More often than not, these offers come from clinicians with little experience in human subject research and statistics, who specialize in research topics vastly different than my area of focus.
These days I am weary of getting involved in these projects because when I did do so a few years ago, I became very worried about the integrity of the data and the scientist with whom I worked with. More importantly, I worried the work would at some point be retracted and consequently tarnish my reputation in the future. These concerns arose due to the fact that I had many questions about the data the study was based on and had limited access to the raw data.
The above-mentioned predicament worries me as I am at the beginning of my scientific career and I suspect that many of these clinicians are only temporarily vested in research to amp their publication records for the purpose of promotion. For them, these publications are one-offs and would have less devastating consequences on their careers if retracted. For me, its very different as I am strictly a researcher. It worries me that working on projects where I do not have full control/access to the raw data, and by working with clinicians with little scientific training in human subject research will result in catastrophic outcomes for me.
My questions to the forum are:
1) am I being too picky about who I collaborate with at this stage of my career?
2) should I relax my standards?
3) what are the consequences of being included as an author in poorly conducted research early on in one's research career for an aspiring academic?