Aug 16 2014 Published by under Lab, Legal Shit, PI

Andy Deans (@GenomeStability), a researcher at St. Vincent's University that studies the DNA repair genes related to Fanconi anemia and just a really nice guy, posted this week on twitter about a crazy MTA that he received from someone when trying to obtain a plasmid from them.  This MTA is so nuts I just had to post it.


I can kind of see co-authorship if its a relatively new reagent or something hotly in demand.  But having editorial control of the manuscript when you just provided a reagent is bullshit.  It would be like asking my neighbor to borrow his tire iron to change my tires and he can then tell me which kinds of tire I have to buy.  Its a bit delusional really, but I hope Andy got it all resolved.

10 responses so far

  • ecologist says:

    I just had occasion to review a number of official policies on authorship. Deans might want to point out to this person that what he/she is demanding is in violation of those policies. And, assuming that this person has published on this plasmid, most journals have a policy requiring that the materials be made available. It truly is a bizarre demand.

    (and, what is an MTA?)

  • Dr. Zeek says:

    MTA- Materials transfer agreement

    Obtaining plasmids from someone, in my humble opinion, warrants an acknowledgement. The exception to that is if I asked you to make the plasmid specifically for the project, then co-authorship is a given. If it is a plasmid you have already published with, nope. Fair game.

    To me it is a BS way of getting your name on a ton of papers. If I get a plasmid for a protein from you and then make mutants of said plasmid to make mutant forms of the protein, your name will be on every single paper for ever and ever as long as the lab lights are on.... Really?

    • chall says:

      My thoughts exactly. Especially if the plasmid is publish since then it is open for further study. If the plasmid isn't published yet - then I would ask for co-authorship (or wait for the paper to come out so it can be referenced)

  • Odyssey says:

    "Arriving at correct conclusions" is complete and utter bullshit. This is nothing more than unabashed h-index padding.

  • chall says:

    I deal with a lot of MTA stuff nowadays and there is a lot of wording in there that comes from lawyers and from industry as in "ask for everything and see what they negotiate out". Both attitudes takes A LOT OF time to resolve but that's their world colliding into the science world (that before shipped reagents across without much discussion).

    As for co-authorship - I'd say no no and more no.

    However, one of the big things when we did a MTA with a company recently was the big negotiation over "how much they could have a say so with the manuscript" and how much we were changing based on them not liking our wording. A lot of times it's more about "having a conversation" and making them FEEL like they are listened to, mostly since you can interpret the wording in the MTA a lot of ways..... (do I sound like a lawyer yet? 😉 ) since base language in the MTA was "we send them the manuscript 30 days before submitting it so they know what we are saying". We never agreed to them having final say so (although they definetly thought so....)

  • Check out Karl D's publication record.

  • Dave says:

    Whatever happened to just sending the plasmid/antibody unofficially through the mail with an unwritten assumption that it would be acknowledged in the text? Some scientists are their own worst enemies.

  • […] A Creature They Can Hardly Believe Is Real The Secret Bataclysm: White Nose Syndrome and Extinction MTAfucknuttery! Seeds of Doubt: An activist’s controversial crusade against genetically modified […]

Leave a Reply