Recording and Reporting Results
Date: 7/28/2009 10:16 am
Research is a team effort, and it is important that the contribution of all members of a team be recognized in the final reports, which are usually in the form of publications. It is often desirable to determine who shall be responsible for writing a particular report and who shall be co-authors at the time the research is initiated. There are no hard and fast rules in determining authorship; this determination is one of the responsibilities of the advisor. Another responsibility of the advisor is to oversee the projects under his/her direction. Whereas the day to day conduct of research is often done by many individuals in a laboratory, the person who has the ultimate responsibility to the agency from which research support has been obtained is the principal investigator (PI) It is therefore important that data be accurately recorded in an appropriate manner so that the PI has continual access to the data and that the original observations and record books be retained in the PI's laboratory. While this may seem like an inconvenience, the importance of maintaining the accuracy and integrity of records cannot be underestimated. Governmental agencies, commercial institutions and universities or colleges are presently in the process of developing new standards for the handling of research data. Certainly, the one who has the greatest impact on research results is the person making observations and recording data. Yet, the person held responsible for reported research is the PI. It is therefore important that all laboratory personnel (students, postdoctoral fellows, technicians, visiting scientists, etc.) adhere to the laboratory standards of the PI in charge of a project. In the case of students, this is usually their advisor.