I'm a 2nd year graduate student (biological sciences). I've been developing a new research tool, which builds upon a system developed by a different lab. However, I've had issues replicating the previous system, owing partly to a scarcity of certain details that would be useful for someone who is still new to most of the technical aspects of this type of research.
I'm debating whether I should contact the corresponding author of the source literature to ask for clarification (e.g. if they could send me specific plasmid maps). However, based upon the research history of my lab, I'm concerned that the other lab may be able to deduce what enhancements I'd like to make to their system (since they've attempted to do similar things in the past). As such, I'm not sure if they would be willing to provide such information.
I've thought about discussing with my advisor. However, I also don't want to seem like I don't have the initiative/independence to seek out what I need myself. If general protocol is for students to directly contact corresponding authors, I'm wondering what is the best way for me to phrase this inquiry.
Thanks so much!