Yesterday I went to go see my friend, the recently infrequently-mentioned Dr. Buttercup. When I first came to MRU, Dr. Buttercup was gracious enough to allow me to share lab space with him. That, coupled with our mutual love of beer and cake, meant that we saw each other quite frequently. Now that I have moved into other laboratory digs and find myself full of people, I see less of Dr. Buttercup and am the recipient of far less of his wisdom. It's a shame. I miss that dude.
Then again, as soon as that guy received a grant score that someone told him was "fundable", he became insufferable. Show off.
But, I digress. I saw Dr. Buttercup yesterday about a different matter and we got to discussing the idea of collaboration. He shared the notion that, as an Assistant Professor, collaboration is one of the funnest thing he does. It's also potentially one of the most dangerous because it robs your time without real reward. Still, brainstorming new experiments is fun and sometimes that additional effort on someone else's grant pays the bills.
This made me think that the same is true for postdoc-level scientists and made me think about some collaborations I got myself into once upon a time. You see, when you're a newly-minted, grown-up scientist, you're on top of the world. Perhaps you start to feel like an expert in something and, perhaps, you're enthusiastic to show the folks around you how good you are at what you do.
Don't do it. Generally, you should resist the urge to merge (your data with others).