The other night as I was falling asleep, a situation occurred to me that struck me as something of a conundrum. (Remarkably, I still remembered the situation when I woke up.) I’ve been working out my own take on this situation — what’s at stake in responding to it one way or another — but I wanted to canvass the commentariat for responses before I put my own analysis out there.
Here’s the situation:
You’re a member of the tribe of science. (Let’s leave your position within the tribe unspecified — you could be a student or a trainee, you could be a mid-career scientist, you could be a senior scientist.)
In the course of a fairly limited engagement with another member of the tribe of science, that other scientist strikes you as shady.
Maybe the engagement is your student rotation through his or her lab. Maybe you are both members of a largish research group. Maybe the two of you have been in communication to broach the possibility of a future collaboration.
What’s important in this situation is that you are presented with a vibe or a gut feeling about this other person — you are not witnessing obvious misconduct, nor are you privy to evidence of same.
On the basis of your impressions from this limited engagement, should you disengage from this individual as quickly as you can? Or should you engage more closely with this individual? Explain the reasoning behind your answer.
Thanks in advance for weighing in. I’ll post my thinking on this conundrum tomorrow night.