15 Dec 2011


During a local scientific meeting, a friend from a pharmaceutical company grabbed me aside. “Hi, Vincent! We sent you an invitation earlier regarding our upcoming advisory board meeting. Are you coming?”

“I am thinking about it,” I was being polite.

Sensing my hesitation, he continued, “I don’t know how to put it, but listen. I know you are good, but my bosses don’t. If you do not join our activities and meet them, I cannot arrange you to speak for our company in future symposia.”

I know people who would not pause a second but eagerly accept such invitations. Universities nowadays only count the countables, and overseas talks of whatever nature happens to be one. While I do not mind giving such talks, having fewer invitations is not a problem either. After all, I have jobs to do and cannot spend all the time flying around.

Whenever I face issues of academic integrity, I cannot help thinking what Professor AL would do.

Once, AL was invited by a company to give a talk in a regional meeting. Despite some disagreements, the company insisted that she used every slide prepared by them. She finally agreed.

On the day of the talk, AL pointed at the slide and began, “Let me explain why the message of this slide is misleading.” Her comments on each and every slide went on and on for the next twenty minutes.

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