Jennifer Rohn at Mind the Gap facetiously proposes that every manuscript include a "disacknowledgements" section to properly balance the façade of collegiality that she feels plagues the standard penned acknowledgements, as well as to "honor all the people who obstructed the research…without whom the work would have proceeded much more briskly and less painfully," she writes. The acknowledgements section, she continues, "is where a bit of human warmth is finally allowed to permeate the barren tundra of scholarly wisdom; you can picture sepia-tinted senior common rooms glowing with amiability and good sportsmanship, tea being poured and biscuits being passed around (and no one ever helping themselves to more than their fair share)," but "in consigning only goodness to the Acknowledgements section, we're missing out on a brilliant opportunity to tell the story of our work in all of its entirely." To that end, Rohn writes, authors should profess their disparagement for the antagonists to their success, such as "bigshot Professor P, who sent his postdoc halfway across the world solely to spy on the first author's poster and pump her for a few helpful details," or "co-last author Professor B, who threatened to pull his data entirely from the manuscript if the third author, his PhD student, was not promoted to second author."
Properly Expressing Your Ingratitude
May 20, 2010