To manage the process around a researcher leaving (planned or not).
- When a researcher is leaving (planned or not), agreements need to be made concerning the future of the project(s) and writing/completing articles.
- Written agreement about the use and handling of data if the researcher needs access to data to finish agreed tasks.
All agreements between departing researchers and the remaining project members.
- Formulates feasible agreements and adheres to them.
- Initiates the discussion on the arrangements to be made. Formulates feasible agreements and adheres to them.
Research assistant: N.A.
The process around a researcher leaving can be divided into 3 phases:
Notification of researcher leaving
If a researcher has handed in his/her notice, or the end of a contract approaches, it is important for the researcher leaving and the remaining project members to arrange how the last weeks/months can be organized as efficiently as possible. The following actions can be considered:
- Explore whether completion of current project(s) and/or articles is achievable within the contract time.
- Produce a weekly plan up to the moment the researcher leaves, prioritizing all the activities required.
- For PhD candidates:
- Explore whether the manuscript can be completed within the contract time.
- Explore whether the training plan can be completed within the contract time.
- Start as early as possible to re-distribute the additional tasks from the researcher leaving to the remaining project members. Consider, for instance, mentoring interns, final reports to the grant authority and associated data analysis, article submissions.
- Create an overview of the remaining activities of the researcher leaving. Consider, for instance, committee memberships. Will a replacement need to be found?
- Start the recruitment process for a replacement, if required.
- Plan an exit-interview (intranet) with your manager/ supervisor. Where you discuss the status of the project(s) and evaluate your time at the department. Discussing: 1) what went well, 2) what could have been better, 3) lessons-learned for the future.
Point of departure
When a researcher is leaving, uncompleted tasks needs to be evaluated and agreements need to be made about uncompleted tasks and whether the researcher will remain involved or continue to actively participate in the project. The following actions can be considered:
- Review project and article status: Has the planning been successful? Are there certain tasks uncompleted? Can uncompleted tasks be passed on to other project members? Or will the researcher, finish uncompleted tasks after he/she leaves?
- Come to agreements regarding the course of affairs after the departure: Will the researcher continue to be involved/participate? And in what way will the researcher continue to be involved/participate? Examples could include completing articles that are in an advanced stage.
- Organize the transfer of research data: What kind of research data needs to be handed over to the replacement of the researcher leaving or other project members? What kind of research data needs to be archived? Refer to the Archiving guideline.
- If the researcher leaving need access to the data: a written agreement about the use, protection, transfer and destruction of the data is obligatory.
- Exchange contact information. This does not just involve new contact details for the departing researcher, but also contact information the departing researcher has of other people who may be useful to the project. Examples of this include contact information of financiers and research assistants. Ensure that this information is available for the replacement of the researcher leaving/the remaining project members.
After the researcher has left
The following actions can be considered if it is decided that the researcher leaving will remain involved/participate once he/she has left:
- Monitor the progress of agreements: Does it continue to be feasible for the researcher to remain involved. Particularly when the researcher leaving is starting a new job, it is difficult to complete tasks from the “old” job alongside the new job. Therefore, it is important to have regular contact with the researcher leaving.
- Unfinished articles: Come to an agreement about who will complete the article and the order of authors. For instance: If a researcher will not be able to complete an article due to his/her new job, then agreements need to be made about who will complete the article and what the impact will be on the order of authors and the corresponding author.
- Articles that still need to be written: What is the role of the researcher leaving in this process? Consider, for instance, co-authorship.
- Final report to grant authority: Who will be responsible for this report?