Surviving and succeeding in science [and academia in general] requires building, maintaining, and preserving a complex array of personal relationships. The notion of loyalty can have a significant effect, both for good and bad, on these relationships.
The problem is that different people may have very different expectations about where loyalty should lie and what it means.
Loyalty can affect information flow, response to criticism, and the sharing of resources.
Here are some situations where loyalty may play out:
- A student takes a postdoc with a competitor of his advisor.
- A graduate student is taking a class taught by her advisor. Some of the other students make a complaint about the teaching of the faculty member.
- A collaborator publicly criticises a paper you wrote without them.
- A new faculty member receives substantial start-up funds which are key to their success. They receive an offer from another institution.