How do you attribute people for their work and value it appropriately?

Hey everyone. There have been many, many discussions in the last weeks, months, … in the biofab community about attribution. Some of us who have experienced difficulties with grey zones, misunderstandings, fuckups, … have been wanting to share stories and exchange with each other in order to learn and be better equipped in future situations.

I don’t believe we can reach some kind of “clear” moment where there are unambiguous rules of engagement, but maybe I’m wrong. Rather I think that it’s an ongoing process that’s affects people rooted in different cultures, personalities, phases, “zeitgeist”, … So finding clarity is done continuously by everyone, everywhere.

Anyway, I wanted to kick off this discussion with a testimonial of my own.

It’s one of a personal failure (of me and my team) that highlights the need for alertness. We were organizing an event with a partner and for the communication of that event they needed a picture of our work. We gave them some, but apparently these photos weren’t good enough so they googled some additional ones. They found a picture of a product that was highly similar to our work and as non-experts our partner did not see the difference between our work and that of the company who actually made it.

We weren’t attentive enough and the communication went live and in print with this wrong picture. Of course it didn’t take long and the wronged company contacted us (in fact they were partners of ours) with a rather angry email pointing it out. We apologized and changed the communication as best as we could. Of course it left a sour taste for our partner who had their work wrongly attributed…

It’s a recurring scenario… We learned to really vet and double check every piece of content. There were so many cases of articles coming out with similar issues: during the interview you point out the right author, but it doesn’t make it to the article (sometimes they don’t let you proof read.) Or the text is fine and then they add a wrongly credited picture without checking.

I hope people join in with their stories. I’m thinking of @asy @Elise @thoraha for academia: how do you combine the desire to be open with the rather closed academic environment?
How do you deal with it as an artist or designer @sfishman @sarolta @LindaNurk ?

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It’s a strange space for sure. In my art practice since I have help from friends with writing and small tips on technical parts of projects, I’ve been compiling a list of people who have been helping me with various projects and intend to post the list with the finished work where it is shown or when it lives on a webpage on my website. I also mention people who have really helped me get to where I am when being interviewed or talking to people about work. I think in general it is a good practice to be aware if someone is consistently helping and how you can reciprocate what they give to you. Of course none of us are going to be able to remember everyone who deserves recognition but it’s important to be open to feedback and criticism if someone feels they are giving and the other party is taking.

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