We take pride of the informal and interactive atmosphere of our institute where we share our scientific ideas freely. At the same time, I’m afraid it can sometimes be a source of potential conflict or tension for scientific activities. I don’t want to see a situation where somebody might feel his/her idea was “stolen”, not matter how unintentional it might be. I don’t want to see personality issues within the institute. I don’t want to see problems with the author list of any papers. We all need to be fair to each other. Basically, I want the whole institute to be one happy family scientifically.
Given this, I propose to install an organizational ombudsman. (I realized that such a system can be helpful when I was re-reading the "SDSS-IV Principles of Operation” in astronomy.) * * *
An ombudsman would listen to your concerns in absolute confidence. He/she will remain neutral to the issues. Only when the situation is grave enough to require an institutional action, and only if you agree to it, he/she will inform the director of the issue and try to mediate the tension or conflict.
Fortunately, Mark Vagins, our professor with a plenty of experience working in large groups, agreed to be an organizational ombudsman.Vagins is the first first full-time foreign professor at Kavli and is also a professor at UC Irvine. He graduated from Caltech and earned his PhD at Yale University. (Kavli IPMU Director's Message; LinkedIn.)
Related posts: German White Paper on Scientific Practices has Fostered University Ombuds Programs; National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine Endorses Ombuds for Higher Ed's Sexual Harassment Problem.