Paper or President, Paper or President....hmmmm.

As Steinn recently noted, Uncertain Chad is really good at "lazy blog polls". However that was meant, a recent question is of unusual interest to scientists.

Suppose that you had a choice between having your favorite candidate win the presidential election, or having a first-author paper in Science. Which would you pick?

Chad next observes:

For this particular election, I'm not even sure that would do it...

Take the full challenge, after the jump.

What would need to be offered before you had to think seriously about this choice? A tenure-track job? Tenure? A secure source of funding?

And there it is folks. Assume that you are facing an either/or guarantee to make things easy. Take Door # 2 and your Presidential candidate loses. Door #1 and you do not get a given listed item, let's say for 4 years.
What professional success would make the failure of your Presidential selection worth it? What professional success can you forgo to guarantee your Presidential selection wins?

  1. First author paper?
  2. Successful Ph.D. defense?
  3. First author CNS paper?
  4. Tenure-track job offer?
  5. R03?
  6. R21?
  7. R01?
  8. MERIT award?
  9. Tenure?
  10. Full Professor?

18 responses so far

  • Piled Higher, Deeper says:

    I could totally live with ol' Walnuts and DruggieBarbie for a paper in Science.
    It's only for four years and a CNS paper is forever... 🙂

  • CC says:

    Anyone who would publish in a non-Open Access journal shouldn't be allowed to vote. QED.

  • It was meant as a compliment!
    Just in case Chad is checking... he

  • ScienceWoman says:

    The American public to wake up and actually really do something about our environmental footprint...
    A sea change in the work-yourself-to-the-bone research culture...
    Oh wait, those aren't only about my career. Speaking of career, a CAREER award would probably be enough to get me tenure, so that might be a lure...

  • windy says:

    I'm going to exploit a loophole and say that I would probably choose the Science paper over my favorite candidate winning the next Finnish presidential election 🙂

  • I would spend the next 10 years of my working life as a trash collector to guarantee a Democrat.
    Does that answer it?

  • Becca says:

    In the extreme cases:
    In this particular election, I wouldn't give up anything to alter the existing odds. However, if I could go back and un-elect(un-select) Bush (and ensure the war was undone) I'd give up science (as a career) forever. In a heartbeat.
    In the moderate case- I would give up my theoretical

  • I would gladly maintain my Science-free CV to bring back the >4,000 American and coalition soldiers and the ~90,000 Iraqi civilians killed in Mission Accomplished.
    Prospectively, if my choice for president saved one person from being killed/maimed/ otherwise-altered-for-life in this conflict, I would forego a C/N/S paper for the rest of my career.
    Thanks for asking.

  • TreeFish says:

    Well...I have to say that I'd take a C/N/S paper any day. I hate to tell y'all that might like my ways, but I'm slightly right of Mussolini and will never get why it's OK to kill babies, but save the lives of killers, pedophiles, and rapists.
    Aside from that, gimme a damn C/N/S paper. I'll vote for Romney in 2012.

  • Nat says:

    Can I have the New England Journal instead?

  • Craig says:

    The hypothetical would have to include more than a win. I wouldn't give up so much as a candy bar for these people without an assurance of future peace.

  • Grad Student says:

    I would give my good (well, repetitive stress injured) right pipetting arm for the Dems to win. My left for a filibuster-proof Senate. What's the fun having anything on that list if the world goes to hell around you? If I stay in academia will my perspective become so warped that this choice requires thought?!

  • I'm with Abel Pharmboy; I'll forego personal gain for the greater good (which I assume is a consequence of one's candidate winning).
    For some reason the list reminds me of an old classic joke:
    Man walks up to a beautiful woman in a bar and says, "Would you sleep with me if I gave you 5 million dollars? She says, "Well, this is a bit surprising, but sure honey". After which he asks, "Would you sleep with me if I gave you 20 dollars?". To which she indignantly replies,"What kind of woman do you think I am?". And he says, "I thought we'd established that; now we're just haggling over the price".

  • DSKS says:

    C/N/S were better before they all sold out and went mainstream. My work is too edgy and subversive (in the contemporary vernacular, "too technical") for such pop science rags anyway.
    That said, I probably wouldn't give up many of those things on the list for my pick for the presidency. Not because I don't feel a sense of duty above and beyond my own selfish desires to elect the best person for the job, but because my judgment on exactly who is the best person for the job is probably not that sound. I'd sooner reap some personal benefit than risk laying down a collective bummer on the whole nation (which isn't even my own) by unwittingly putting the next Jimmy Carter into office.
    So hows that for rationalizing selfishness?

  • DrugMonkey says:

    My what a virtuous (or at least unselfish) appearing band of grunion you are!
    So hows that for rationalizing selfishness?
    Me, I'm going with Anonymoustache's analysis. I'm an unrepentant grant and paper whore. Maybe not for an R03 or R21 but depending on the state of my R01 prospects at a given time...
    and a MERIT extension? I can for sure live with the other party's candidate for that!
    CNS paper.....hmm. I think I'd be able to forgo that temptation for a 4 yr interval.
    Tenure? well, the value of tenure in a soft money environment is not all that much...
    TreeFish, not sure what you are getting at here. From context I'll assume you are talking about abortion instead of the civilian children killed in Iraq/Afghanistan. What about the Supreme Court? You could be opting for / against a chance to overturn Roe for decades, no?

  • TreeFish says:

    Who knows what the hell I'm talking about!? I sure don't...
    The vast majority of people killed in Iraq/Afghanistan are militants, but there are still too, too, too many innocent killed (1 killed is too many). I am a rare breed: I think we're justified in invading Afghanistan/Iraq and killing militants/terrorists/Islamofascists; yet, I don't think we have the divine authority to kill people, born or unborn (i.e., I oppose abortion and the death penalty); plus, I'm a devout Catholic boy who thinks that stem cell research could arguably be consistent with emulating Hayzoos because he used the technology available to him at the time to save lives (spit, mud, etc.).
    I don't want to self-explore beyond these inconsistencies, since killing militants and terrorists and Islamofascists is de facto endorsing the death penalty. If I get tenure, or an R01, or an endowed professorship, or a C/N/S paper, then I can keep my silly social opinions to myself...so gimme one!

  • juniorprof says:

    Well Treefish, you managed to confuse me; however, I can say I know at least two other people who share you're viewpoints, my very Catholic grandparents.
    And, for the record, I'm with Abel on the question at hand.

  • neurolover says:

    Hey, are we all so sure that our papers area so worthless that they have to compare poorly against ending the war & world peace? I mean, aren't we all trying to cure cancer (or something like that) anyway?
    None of you altruists are clearly megalomaniacal enough. One of *my* CNS papers can be balanced against the American president on the strength of the greater good (not my own personal gain). Of course.
    Isn't that why Hillary kept running when she'd almost certainly lost ('cause the world needed *her*).
    (OK, I'll admit that I don't actually think one of my CNS papers is worth exchanging for world peace. But, someone's? quite possible).

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