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Date Posted: 13:26:08 01/20/02 Sun
Subject: Good Luck
I am involved in a similar (though far less egregious) dispute with my graduate advisor. I am saddened by your story and disgusted, but not surprised, by your university's response. My former institution (at least the department chair) also stands by the rights of a PI to have others reproduce a grad students thesis work and publish the results with only an insulting note of thanks in the acknowledgements.
I think serious reforms need to be made in graduate education and data ownership policy.
I have gotten repeated advice from both friends and persons supporting my former advisor to drop my dispute and move on with my life and career. Clearly, after devoting five or more years of your life, relatively unpaid, to something, it is hard to walk away without proper credit. In general, grad students don't lead a well balanced life. It is offensive to let a supervisor "get away with" such an abuse of power.
After reading on your website about your dispute that has claimed 15 years of your life, I realize that I need to focus my energies in a positive direction and not let my former advisor (coincidentally also a Jewish woman. If I was being oppressed by a man my case would be much stronger.) continue to make me miserable. I hope I can find some way to make peace with my problems.
Have you sought therapy and did it help you?
Good luck. I hope that even if your complaint never results in justice for you it may precipitate some reforms or at least educate some future students/scientists.
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Re: Good Luck -- Michael Pyshnov, 12:57:19 01/21/02 Mon
Thank you very much for your good wishes. Some notes:
While Larsen gave me an "acknowledgment", she as a matter of fact said in the 3 papers that it wasn't me but her who did the work and developed all the ideas, specifying nothing in the "acknowledgment". There was Canadian case (Boudreau v. Lin, 1997) in which Prof. Lin plagiarized student's work. The judgment is very interesting, also saying that Lin did not quite understand the work. In my doc. 45 there is an American case mentioned. These things are illegal, they cannot be defended.
"Data ownership" - there is really no such thing.
If it's an academic work (as was mine), anyone can exploit the data as soon as they are published; only the author has right to publish them. In my case, they usurped the right to publish, which can find some moral (but not legal, and, so, bearing all cost of infringement) justification only if data are of paramount importance. Yet, they continue to insist that the data were not scientifically important, not even to deserve the degree. Moreover, if data were deserving publishing to the degree that my right to publish had to be violated, nothing prevented them from saying whose are the data. The fraud is quite obvious.
Now, if the research has commercial value, the commercial application can be protected. Again, it's not that someone owns the data. I would think that new concept of "ownership" of data has more to do with stealing authorship and preventing the author from exercising his rights. Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 27(2)) says: "Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author." (Note the words "moral and material" and "scientific"; it's the basic human right!) All intellectual property laws say the same. No "policy" can remove this and I doubt that even a signed contract specifically removing author's rights will be upheld by court as legal, considering also the fact that, usually, at the time of signing no data even existed. If anyone tells you that university MONEY allows it a "share" of your right of authorship, tell them that a student who bought an essay on internet, had paid for authorship and therefore can not be just called a plagiarist.
Next: I never sought "therapy". In my upbringing, "therapy", i.e. believing that someone knows you better than you know yourself and letting him to "change" you would be a joke. (When one goes insane, psychiatrist would be the man, not the "therapist".) My reaction was, simply, never abnormal.
I know that this society presently believes in "therapy", but let me say this: they are not only charlatans, they are politically motivated. It's the same communist goals of Freud and others, first, to persuade people that they are animals, second, to disable people. And what can be more disabling than giving up your control over yourself! Or telling you that there are hidden springs inside you of which only "professionals" know? My upbringing tells people to value what makes you different from an animal, it rejects pre-Christian pragmatism, it tells you that people around you and the older people in particular, give you advice based on the experience of many hundreds of years. Would you not believe them and start believing in communist charlatans who now teach woman how to give birth to children, proclaim legitimate "experimenting" with mind-altering drugs and with practically everything that was an abomination only, for centuries, and make general impression that civilization is just about to be born by progressive "change"?
My upbringing firmly prescribes to defend civilized world in any war against it.
I can only advise you to establish yourself, first, in a sound position (what I could not do as everything was taken from me), but then to go back to your grievances, yet watching that limitation period not expired. My guess is that everything (as it is generally in life) depends on the number of honest people who will agree to speak publicly. No one ever found peace with his problems under "therapist", unless abolishing himself and his self-respect. And you find peace remaining with yourself and your self-respect.
Last: my efforts not only did not induce reforms, they persuaded people that struggling with these special criminals is useless. In fact, these very special criminals like what is going on very much.
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