Giving Credits in Academia: Small Things Matter

How many times did you feel that you did not get proper credit for your work in the lab? Did you raise questions? Most common answers are yes, we did not get deserving credits for our work and we did not oppose them. This is what I want to discuss in this article. Science is the field of creative minds, and it motivates us every day for a new discovery. This is the key to success in research and science. At the same time receiving appreciation from our peers is important in being motivated to pursue our scientific goals. Its common practice in academia that we face this partiality, lack of proper credit.

Dear supervisor, “you have an ethical responsibility to give due credits to the deserving staff, trainees, mentees, students, or subordinates in your group or team.”

One should also be praised or recognized for achieving small targets, completing minor responsibilities, and making our jobs easy. Getting credits for hardships and constant efforts despite failed experiments can help to maintain the confidence and capability of future experimental success. A small appreciation can boost the willpower of the student. They always try their best to put in their best efforts with a positive mindset. Teachers are the greatest source of motivation. They can instill the greatest level of confidence in their students and can create an extraordinary generation with a robust research mind. 

Praising someone for their good job drives them to do better and give their best. Appreciation gives a person the required energy to remain interested and focused on their work and responsibilities. Sometimes even a smile for our efforts can give us the feeling of accomplishment. It really improves their mental health and has a significant impact on employee wellbeing by making them feel happy about their job.

On the other hand, if we are not getting any appreciation for our work then it results in negativity, frustration and has a corrosive impact. Innovative thinking and overall motivation decrease. In academia, where there are more negative things than positive results. It’s tremendously important to have some form of positive encouragement. It can be better understood with an analogy where the absence of fans in a stadium to cheer up or support can make even the best players lose their game.

Critique should be in the form of constructive criticism to build up a person and not tear them down. One should praise students’ efforts with positive recognition and then you can point out different ways to improve. It is also important to give credit for small achievements when someone is struggling and appreciate their journey to reach there, all the while respecting their work-life balance. There are several ways of giving credits to someone at work like giving promotions, acknowledging their ideas, and giving rewards for participation or organization skills, or excellence, that can show confidence in someone´s ability. In academia, we publish papers, books, or write in magazines, where we give credits to everyone who helped in the study in a separate acknowledgment section.

If you appreciate someone’s positive attitude and efforts, then they feel full of positivity and are more enthusiastic about their work. Being a mentor, you should give time for analyzing and discussing data at least on a weekly basis. Having open communication will give a better judgment of the progress and help in giving credits where it’s due. This will give you a supervisor the required leadership quality and that makes the difference between a boss versus a leader. If you see the world full of skepticism and not recognizing their efforts, that will lead to a negative attitude towards work. This can result in loss of their motivation for a short period of time. Giving credits to your own work is also equally important to remain self-motivated and satisfied.

In a nutshell, for maintaining a healthy working environment in academics, a supervisor or a team leader should practice giving credit, acknowledging their efforts, and provide enthusiasm to their team workers. This will improve the work ethics and social wellbeing of the team.

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Sneh Lata Gupta
About Sneh Lata Gupta 1 Article
Sneh Lata is a post doctoral researcher in the Department of Pediatrics, Division of Infectious Disease, School of Medicine, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, USA. She is an immunologist and working on pediatrics Covid vaccines. She is actively working with many national and international science organizations and helps in communication and motivation post writing.

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