American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

Video Transcripts

Pelagie Beeson, PhD
Well first of all I can't imagine doing what I do in isolation. I do a lot of work with neurologists. He is attuned to some of the issues in terms of lesion localization that ultimately are of interest to both of us, but we're coming at it from a different angle to obtain a common ground. The other compliment comes from cognitive science because, of course, I'm looking at what are the cognitive processes for language and so again working with individuals that are not so oriented towards rehabilitation. That prompts me to think about things from a different perspective where I have an insight that my colleagues in other departments do not have is the rehabilitation component.

Cyma Van Petten, PhD
Two things is my personal experience, availability of a patient population, you know like a well characterized set of people with damage to one brain area, or methodology, that doesn't exist in my home institution, like say magnetoencephalography; this is a kind of rare, expensive method that doesn't exist everywhere.

Julie Barkmeier Kraemer, PhD
Anatomic and physiologic questions that I have been really enhanced by my interactions with individuals in physiology, physics, anatomy, and cell biology imaging. All of those have really complemented nicely and helped enhance what I can answer for my questions. I also get to learn to use new technology and methods that I currently don't know.

Merrill Garrett, PhD
I think if I have to pick one thing though, what I would say is that opportunity to start something new in a place where something isn't going on. So speech errors is the thing I've done lots of work with over my career and I've had the chance to start speech error projects in the vast country in Spain, in Japan, in Argentina, in Italy, and various places where it wasn't happening before. And I go and I talk to these people, we start collaboration, and they start to do something in which I am very interested, but that I think is useful. And it wouldn't have happened if we hadn't done that. And that's, you know, maybe it's very sort of self-focused, but it sure is fun.

Brad Story, PhD
If you want to collaborate with someone outside the field, well certainly one way to find those people is to go to a lot of conferences, and not just conferences that are focused on speech and hearing, but things that are related to hearing say like neuro science or the Acoustical Society meetings where you can meet a lot of people that may be able to collaborate with you. The other piece of it is that if you want to be a collaborator and start one, you need to be very clear about what you can offer to those people as well and to not simply be looking for someone to help you out. That's really the only way that you are going to bring people from a distance to you.

Julie Barkmeier Kraemer, PhD
From recommendations that I receive from other colleagues who know of individuals that may have similar interests to mind through informal conversations, they might say, "Oh you need to go talk to so and so," and so I do.

Merrill Garrett, PhD
Conferences I find "mezza mezza" you know, sometimes you get some good out of them, but the schedule is packed and you don't have that kind of opportunity to interact with people. Workshop settings on the other hand where you have a focused kind of a target, you know that the people are there because they're interested, and you have it structured so that you have a kind of opportunity for back and forth conversation. I find that workshop formats are really first rate.

Julie Barkmeier Kraemer, PhD
Fortunately, here at the University of Arizona I've been a faculty member in the program in neuro science so several faculty across the campus and in the medical center have been available to me through my interactions with that program. In addition to a training grant that I was a researcher on, where I also interface weekly with other colleagues that come from several walks of life interested in motor control.

LouAnn Gerken, PhD
Don't be surprised if you're not initially greeted with open arms. Faculty are so overwhelmed these days that we're often reluctant to take on new commitments. But if you think you have a good idea, and that that idea is amenable to doing interdisciplinary research, then do your homework, prepare you list of questions, and request a meeting and usually you'll get something out of it.

LouAnn Gerken, PhD
If you're approaching somebody from another field about working together, the first thing that you have to do is to be honest with your potential collaborator about what you want. If you want intellectual input, say that. But if you just want to use a piece of their equipment, or to have access to a participant pool, say that too. And if the collaboration actually gets started and as it grows, you have to continue to be clear about what each person is supposed to do to make the collaboration go smoothly.

Rebecca Gomez, PhD
I've recently been collaborating with a physicist and one of the reasons why I've been interested in collaborating with this person is because he's a specialist in signal processing and that kind of expertise is very valuable to me and the kind of work I do. And it turns out that even though this person has his expertise, we've encountered some obstacles in communication because we have very different points of view. So I'm used to thinking about things from the point of view of a psychologist where I'm trying to understand the mechanisms that explain behavior, and as a physicist, he's interested in just trying to define, to identify all the sources and variants and trying to account for those, but he has no concept of, or real feeling for the phenomenon that I'm trying to measure. So even though we both use scientific method, it's not clear that this collaboration is going to be able to go on. On the other hand, I've recently begun collaborating with a psychologist who has expertise is signal processing and this collaboration is working out quite well because unlike the physicist, this person has an understanding of the phenomenon that I'm trying to explain and trying to understand, so we have that common ground.

Julie Barkmeier Kraemer, PhD
If they're not familiar with my profession, for example, when I first became interested in investigating anatomical structures of the recurrent laryngeal nerve that go to the larynx, I needed to spend a good deal of time familiarizing the anatomist, the neurophysiologist, or whoever it was in cell biology and histology, with whom I spoke, about my background, my interest, the clinical populations that it applied to, and the fact that I didn't have background in that area. I was calling on them because I needed their expertise to teach me about it, to give me direction and guidance, and to maybe even directly contribute to the data collection. If I have a publication to offer, I give them a copy of that. I like to, also, before I approach somebody I'm unfamiliar with, what they have to offer, I like to acquire some information about them. So I often will do a Medline search and find out what they have published. If they have students working with them, I will talk with the students about the work they're doing with that faculty member.

LouAnn Gerken, PhD
I can think of at least two different scenarios for that kind of collaboration. One is where two researchers are doing research that they suddenly find out is related and they want to get together to try to understand how their research might interact. In that circumstance, where both researchers are interested in the same content area, I think it's important for them to describe, in really boring detail how they go about doing their research so that measurement procedures seem to be really obvious to somebody in one field, can seem absolutely counterintuitive in another field. The other scenario is probably more common and that's where you're doing some research and you need the expertise of somebody outside your field. And to get this outside expert to be interested in playing with you it often helps to describe the big picture question that you're addressing as though you are talking to like your uncle at a family reunion. So you have to absolutely make no assumptions about shared theoretical framework or vocabulary. And if you can get your expert interested in the big question, you might be able to entice him or her to collaborate with you.

LouAnn Gerken, PhD
The main collaboration that I've had outside the United States is with researchers in Europe. And Europe might not seem like a very different culture, but in my experience European scientists tend to focus more on exploratory or observational research while American scientists tend to focus more on hypothesis testing. And being and American scientist, I'm pretty attached to hypothesis testing. But those times that I've set up European collaborations, I've had to remember not to automatically reject the approach that they're taking in favor of hypothesis testing and to think about things in other ways. To be honest I think that these really deeply routed assumptions about what constitutes good science are pretty hard to overcome. But it does help to realize that they are deeply routed and that other cultures have deeply routed assumptions that are different than yours and that can help.

Theodore J. Glattke, PhD
Regarding international collaboration, the principles of the Belmont Report, beneficence, justice, and respect for persons, guide all of the regulations that the U.S.-based researchers must respond to. However, beyond that, a great amount of flexibility is allowed. For example, in the consenting process there might be communities in which the community leader or the husband in a family is the person who's associated with giving consent for the entire community or for the entire family, and it may be insulting for individuals to be asked to give individual consent to participate in a particular project. In some cultures, signing a document is looked upon with great suspicion. And the literal translation of our typical consent documents used in the United States contains some words that may be offensive to individuals in many cultures. And it's advisable that individuals, who are going to other countries, learn the culture of that country well enough or get guidance of the culture of that country such that they can produce documents that will not offend the individuals and be compatible with those cultures while not violating the US regulations.

Merrill Garrett, PhD
When I was in Japan I found quite a bit of adjustment was necessary in order to take account of the very polite approach to things. So getting people to ask questions, getting people to disagree with you when you say something that you think is productively inflammatory, and that's a style that we use here, didn't work for me in Japan.

Pelagie Beeson, PhD
The people that I'm working with right now, we read, and then we talk, and then we move apart and think about, we come back and we talk about it some more. And really wrestle with the issues, trying to figure out what makes sense in terms of what we're seeing, what other people say in the literature.

Steven Z. Rapcsak, MD
Well I think that the most important thing is to understand what other people bring to the project and what they can contribute. So I think it's a big mistake if you that you are the most important part of the team and that your paradigm or your ideas dominate the collaboration. I think that keeping an open mind and really have an interchange is probably the most important.

Theodore J. Glattke, PhD
In regarding inter-institutional collaboration, the IRBs that each of the institutions are likely to be involved in reviewing the local investigators plan and will want to improve that local investigator's plan. The coordinating institution or the grant holder if there's subcontracts involved, is likely to be able to trump the other institution should a discrepancy occur. Usually the discrepancies, though, occur as a result of state laws that the IRBs also support in the individual location. And what will usually happen is that one state will have a more restrictive interpretation of some law protecting information than another state might. And in that case, the grant holder, the coordinating IRB is likely to defer to the more restrictive environment.

Julie Barkmeier Kraemer, PhD
I've had experiences where the other individual is really looking to have somebody who has got a PhD to fill in as a technician on the research that they're doing. So in those situations it would have behooved me to be clear about the role I saw myself playing from the very beginning. In the situations I found myself, I had not done that.

Maria Naihmas, PhD
Sometimes it's based on your expertise, you know, some people prefer to do the writing, some people prefer to do the planning, some people like to interact with people, and others would just prefer to do data analysis, you know, so it's just like divide and conquer based on your expertise. Or if it's in two different disciplines obviously the task can divide up that way. Sometimes it's based on previous collaborations you have with the same people though, and you get into kind of a patter, you know, of what you're used to doing. Generally though I've found that it's best when you talk about it explicitly. That doesn't always happen, but it's best if you talk about it.

Cyma Van Petten, PhD
People generally tend to respond better to requests for them to do something on a project. If your email says: "Hey, I did these three steps on this and here's some text or some analysis." You know, that's more likely to get a response than a "why don't you do your part now."

Rebecca Gomez, PhD
In terms of keeping work going forward, because of the things that can come up in a semester or come up in life, whatever, I think it's good to have goals. So I think it's good, there are so many times when you think a project is going to be done in six months and it actually stretches out into years. And so if you at least have the short term/long term goals, you cam make adjustments as you have to.

Cyma Van Petten, PhD
I always have multiple projects going at the same time. Usually my collaborators do too. So, a pretty typical collaborative challenge is that a time will come when I'm all set to work on a manuscript, or to do something with a data set and my collaborator has a grant due in the next month, or of course the same thing happens in reverse, one of my collaborators says, "Hey, why don't we start working on the 'x data set' and, you know, I'm creating a syllabus for a new course.

Julie Barkmeier Kraemer, PhD
I have four categories of obstacle that I have come upon. The first is the collaborator that I'm involved in a project on is unavailable as necessary to complete the agreed upon research. Secondly, the colleague often doesn't follow through on promised materials, doesn't follow through on their promised role, doesn't attend scheduled meetings that are related to the project so there's no follow through or touching base. Thirdly, I have had the experience of a colleague acting without my input on a project we were working together on. Fourthly, I've had colleagues misrepresent their expertise and skills so that I was drawn to the conclusion that they could actually contribute to my project, and discovered, unhappily, that they could not.

Brad Story, PhD
If you want it to get done, you need to be the driver, and you need to be asking people how things are going, what results they have, and sometimes you have to be a squeaky wheel or be even a little bit annoying.

Merrill Garrett, PhD
A good lab meeting, not always and forever and absolutely, but, most often, is one where you know what it is that you want to accomplish. People have done some prep work before so that you come into it not with a kind of "loosy goosy" search for something, but really with a focused attention to a problem that you want to solve. At least that's the kind of lab meeting format that I like best. Lots of conversational situations in the lab, some people might call them a lab meeting, I wouldn't. I would say those are lab interactions that are valuable and fun, but they're not a lab meeting where you're trying to get something done. And if you think about it that way then the conditions that I talked about in the beginning are the ones that I think are important.

Maria Naihmas, PhD
Oh, I'd say good humor. People really have to spend time talking about it and listening to the other person really carefully. Sharing similar work ethics and integrity I think makes a collaboration go very well and just intelligence and creativity.

Julie Barkmeier Kraemer, PhD
The advice I have, however, in pursuing that is to be careful who you collaborate with. Make sure that you choose collaborators that treat you with mutual respect, who you respect, who respect you back, that they demonstrate a commitment to the project. If there's no follow through on plans up front, there won't be follow through later. Don't continue that relation. And it's also a good idea when you establish a collaboration that address all of the issues right up front that can potentially lead to conflict. And in this regard that includes things like roles and responsibilities perceived by each individual having to do with the methods that you've agreed upon, the timeline that you are expecting this to accomplished by, available monetary resources and facilities, who's going to use them, whether they'll be shared, that sort of thing, and then finally, but most importantly, authorship. And then the last thing I would give advice on is if you interact with somebody on a grant application or funded research, be very clear when you designate the percent of time somebody is on a grant or on your funding; what that translates into as far as roles, responsibilities and their time commitment.

Cyma Van Petten, PhD
In my case, the local collaborations often involve social interactions, you know, I mean actually like go to happy hour with my local collaborators. So that makes it easier to negotiate the timing issues, when we're going to work on various things. And of course it's much easier to brainstorm about experimental designs, etc., in a face to face conversation, than certainly by email and even by phone. So yes, local collaborations are easier.

Merrill Garrett, PhD
Local collaboration always, not always, but often has difficulties of scheduling because everybody assumes it will be easy. Whereas when you're doing a long distance collaboration, you're careful to plan and everybody makes time commitments and you can actually get something done.

Brad Story, PhD
My personal experience with long distance collaboration is primarily with people in Europe. And we do a lot of computer modeling and that's a very easy long distance collaboration because you can exchange information, you can exchange code via email and websites and so that really isn't a barrier at all.

Julie Barkmeier Kraemer, PhD
The first problem that often comes up is that you don't have personal access to either facilities, the collaborator, to the expertise necessary related to the project you're working on. Secondly, it can be more difficult to be more consistent in data collection, especially if you have multi site data collection going on. Because of the distance and the challenges of getting together with your collaborator, projects can often take a longer time than planned to be completed. Just getting human subjects passed on a multi-site project is often difficult. If the work requires that you actually rendezvous with your collaborator and they are in a distant location, whether it's locally in your community, not in your vicinity, for example I collaborate at the VA hospital, versus if I have to travel out of state, both of those situations require coordination of your schedules, which in assuming everybody's pretty busy that's very difficult to do and that is often one of the biggest obstacles I come across. And sometimes the collaborators that I work with are going to charge me a consultation fee so there can be a monetary challenge involved in some cases. And then finally I think I referred to this before, but I put it here as a seventh point, and that is the frequency of contact is not going to be as frequent when you have a distance in between you and because of that, misunderstandings occur, changes in agreed upon roles, authorship decisions, methods, those can all start to happen when you are not in the immediate vicinity of the individual you're working with.

Brad Story, PhD
It's ideal if you can create a collaboration in which a number of publications can come out of it so that perhaps all of the collaborators could be a first author on one of those publications. It doesn't always work that well but it's nice if it does.

Cyma Van Petten, PhD
The first author is the premiere position. Here's where there's kind of a discipline difference. I think that in the social sciences, the sort of list of authors tends to be sort of linear, you know, second is better than third but not as good a first, fourth, you know, down, down, down. But there is kind of a tradition I think more in the biological sciences, where last author is a special position, which is usually reserved for the head of the laboratory. Okay? The first author might be a graduate student or a post doc, the middle authors might be other people in the lab, the last author is the head of the lab who probably wrote the grant that financially supported the research, etc.

Rebecca Gomez, PhD
The students and advisors have different views on this. I think as a student often because you're doing a lot of the grunt work, the hands on work, you begin to feel a certain ownership and in many times, in many cases that is correct, that you may be the driving force in terms of developing the ideas, but it's easy to forget the advisors do play a very important role in shaping your ideas and shaping the work and often you can't do that work as effectively without them. And so that can explain why in certain cases an advisor may have a higher number or be one of the first authors and you as a student may come behind the advisor. So it's very important to try to understand these different perspectives in terms of who contributes what to this process.

Brad Story, PhD
Deciding on order of authorship should come up as soon into the process of designing your project as possible. That will avoid misconceptions and later problems that do come up when someone begins to write the publication. So that would be my recommendation as soon as possible.

Rebecca Gomez, PhD
I think it's probably a good idea to try to decide on this up front because there are different ways of assigning authorship in different disciplines. It helps you decide, first of all, how the work is going to be done. Okay? But it's also important to recognize that it changes. The projects change, I mean, the person who originally came up with the idea may lose interest in the project or may not end up contributing very much. You need to be willing to recognize that this can change in the course of the project. And so you need to be flexible enough and open enough to have discussions about how authorship should be ordered.

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