Netstim Code of Conduct

General thoughts about “lab life”

Finding your path through academia is surely not easy – and advise you may get from seniors may differ a lot. Here are some thoughts we have had about how we'd like to handle it at the Netstim.

  • You don't work for the lab or the PI but we all work together. Naturally, this also means, the PI (i.e. Andy) works for you. It is Andy's honour and task to help you thrive & become a successful scientist.

    • Naturally, if at some point you decide to leave academia, we will equally try to help you reach your goals there but of course our resources will be more limited to do so.

  • You should have all the tools you require at your disposal. Our most expensive resource is and will always be our time. So spending our time on ineffective tools should always be avoided. Talk to the right person (if in doubt talk to Andy) if you need anything to be more productive or happy.

  • We thrive to keep diversity high to prevent doing the same thing for decades. If you can bring in new ideas or concepts, we'll love to hear them.

  • Productivity does not correlate with the number of hours spent in the lab. Go home if you are done for the day. Feel free to work from home if you have no meetings and are productive at home. We use means of asynchronous communication (such as Slack or E-Mail) for this reason.

  • We usually opt for quality over quantity. Our goal is to publish impactful work, not as many papers as we can.

  • Along the same lines: letting the brain rest is underrated. Work-life balance is more important than we think. Vacation is not the time to catch up with literature but time for rest.

  • Spending time to actually "think" is really important. We shouldn't get caught up in the machine and follow poorly defined paths. Sometimes it is important to step back and look at things through the macroscope. Sit down and make lists of what and when to do instead of blindly doing the next best thing.

  • Our private life is always more important than our work. This may be a luxury of academia and may e.g. not directly translate into medical care. But since we have that luxury, we should enjoy it.

  • Science should be fun. We don't do it for pay :)


How much "should we publish"? That's a tough question and it cannot really be answered. Scientific results cannot be forced and some projects take much longer than expected or are more cumbersome as expected. Still, sometimes we feel the need to know whether we are “on track” or should be slower/faster. Given the above, please see the points below as thoughts, not as rules.

  • For young researchers in our field, publishing one paper a year is usually a good track record. For your very first paper, taking a little longer is usual, too. You'll maybe get a little faster lateron, but even for experienced scientists, there is a ceiling if you actually do the work.

  • The typical PhD in Germany officially takes three years and goal is to publish three papers. Usually, that is tough to realize, but it can work for some. Don't worry too much if it doesn't work out as planned. As far as we focus on quality and impact, this will usually be rewarded in the field and one good paper may be worth much more than three mediocre ones.

  • If you have the feeling that you are "too slow" then, often, it is simply not true. But if it truly is, then it is usually not your fault – and could be a symptom of poor supervision or advice. Do contact people and talk to them (if in doubt talk to Andy). Loop others in and try to analyze what may be a problem of the project, your way of tackling it etc. Sometimes projects are ill-posed and it may even be a good thing (if yet a courageous one) to drop them and start something new.

Open Science

  • We thrive to practice open science as much as possible.

  • The optimal project would follow these six steps:

    1. Preregister the study & get IRB approval

    2. Acquire the data

    3. Do the analyses – potentially already releasing data & code

    4. Start writing manuscript and potentially present a poster

    5. Submit manuscript to a preprint server and journal on the same day

    6. Release all data and code as allowed by IRB.

  • Upon acceptance, we share the final author PDF on this site.

  • Usually, Open Access journals are preferred.


  • We thrive to give you the opportunity to collaborate internationally or to spend time abroad. In case you have the opportunity to collaborate with a foreign lab and would like to, please do! If it feels right, communicate it with us and we'll potentially be happy to help, advise or encourage you. If you're still in your PhD, it is generally a good thing to talk about such side-projects with us since often, they do take time. If you're a post-doc, you know the ropes and will be able to decide how / how much and when to collaborate with others. But as a general rule of thumb, setting up collaborations to foreign labs is strongly encouraged.

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