Sharing the Love: When to Hand Off a Manuscript to Another Researcher

I had a bittersweet experience: after finishing up a study, I handed off the writing to another psychologist. This was a cute little survey study with a convenience sample – nothing fancy, just good ‘ole fashioned social science. I still remember the day my study was conceived. My supervisor said something like, “Hey Julie. You’re not doing anything important, right?”

Well, my little sweetie grew up as they tend to do. Went off to IRB. Came back several times for revisions. I even collected and coded most of the data myself for old times sake (and because I was understaffed). I finished up most of the analyses and was pleased with the results. Then I had to face a sad truth: I just don’t have the time to write the manuscript right now.Figure 1: Level of Doo Doo

There are a few papers I have dreaded writing. This was not one of them. The study was clean and simple, with clear results that don’t require much squinting. Just a chart with standard error bars. It’s not that I needed to be first author… it’s more that I was excited to see it to conclusion. And, yeah, I wanted to be first author. A few key points helped ease the transition of my study to a new researcher:

  1. My colleagues have the time and ability to do an excellent job with this.
  2. Waiting to write the paper delays the dissemination of the knowledge to the larger scientific community.
  3. If I sat on this study any longer, I would be in deep doo doo (See Figure 1).

Now my challenge will be supporting the effort without micromanaging and nagging. “You’re going with *that* measure of effect size?!”