I’ll try to cut to the chase on this one, though there’s a lot to say actually.
I’ve had some collaboration and discussions with a Chinese (mainland) ecologist over the last few years, ever since he did a sabbatical here. He’s a member of the CAS (Chinese Academy of Sciences) and has been trying to talk me into going there (permanently) ever since, where he says the research opportunities are greater and the picture generally rosier. I have my doubts on that, but whatever, I’ve never been there and know nothing about the matter. Never had any desire to go, except maybe to Tibet or the Tian Shan mountains in western China.
This week I told him some things about my situation, including that I had a number of potential papers sitting there in various stages of completion (mostly, not very close) from various data analyses done over the last 15 years, and other things. In response he made the following offer. He would get me an affiliation with the CAS, and pay me $2000 apiece if I got six of them published in the next year. In return I had to list him as either the lead or corresponding author on each. He said he’d assign one of his grad students to help me out if I needed it. He stated these things very plainly, in an email message.
Each of these potential papers represents quite a lot of work already, including field work and computer data analyses of various types, and even more to bring them to completion of course. The guy knows absolutely nothing about most of the topics involved, some of which are very specific and technical, like my tree ring analysis work, other work on new statistical methods for the estimation of American pre-settlement forest conditions, and work on the effect of fire suppression on tree biomass/carbon accumulation rates in California pine forests. These represent essentially my life’s work over the last 15 years. And yet he’s requesting that I list him as an author on each, even lead author.
Aside from the fantastically unrealistic pipe dream of publishing six high quality articles in one year, what exactly does he plan to do when people start contacting him with various technical questions on the material, or for presentation of it at conferences, or to review papers in those areas, or similar academic type things? And I won’t get into the numerous other things he’s told me that indicate pretty strongly that he’s attempting to build his research empire over there, except that apparently, collaboration with American scientists counts pretty highly among the powers that be, and science is run “like a business”.
So, uh… thanks friend, but uh, no dice. I need the money pretty badly for sure, and the affiliation would be great also, but you know, I just really don’t need either that bad. Former friend, make that. Good luck over there.