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Professor used my research...

Discussion in 'Psychology [Psy.D. / Ph.D.]' started by WannaBeDrMe, Dec 1, 2008.

  1. WannaBeDrMe

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    edited for privacy -- I got cold feet about the details, I don't want it to get out that I put this on the web

    Basically, a professor used my survey and passed it off as his own after lying to me and saying he never received my work.

    I'm not sure what to do, any input appreciated...
     
    #1 WannaBeDrMe, Dec 1, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2008
  2. KillerDiller

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    I suppose the first step would be talking to the head of your department. Is this a survey you created or an existing survey that you found and used for a project? Is there any way you can prove that it was yours? Lastly, although I know you are reluctant to post details, it would help to know in what way this professor passed it off as his work--in a poster, in a manuscript that was submitted for publicaiton, in class?
     
  3. Cosmo75

    Cosmo75 Post-Doctoral Fellow
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    You're not a wuss. You're right to not want this out on the tubes. It usually comes back to bite you in the arse.

    I had a similar situation happen to me with my mentor. He was the PI on the project/grant (because I couldn't be), even though the entire idea for the study was mine. I spoke with another person whom I trusted immensely and who knew the details of the situation. My options seemed to be reporting him to the ethics board of the APA and perhaps of the institution where this happened, discussing the deterioration of the relationship with him, resigning, or sucking it up and moving on. There were obvious pros and cons to doing any of those things. I must note this wasn't your traditional mentor-mentee set up at my school, but at an outside RA job I had. I opted to walk away from the position after attempts at mediation failed. He later screwed me on a publication and has sat on a paper I was working on when this all went down. Now (almost 2 years later) I can look back with less bitterness. Karma has taken care of some of this for me :D But overall, it was an unpleasant learning experience that I really wasn't able to do much to change.

    I hope you can sort this out. It's not a fun position to be in.
     
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  4. bludreamz

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    Is this common?

    :T
     
  5. Therapist4Chnge

    Therapist4Chnge Neuropsych Ninja Faculty
    Faculty Moderator Emeritus Verified Expert 10+ Year Member

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    It definitely can happen. Original findings, intellectual property, and related areas are subject to theft just like a bicycle or iPod. I ran into an issue with IP theft while I was doing biz consulting, and it was a huge pain. Unfortunately the legal costs and time associated with filing an IP case were $$, so I chose to let it go. As things go (karma/luck/a called in favor), they were blacklisted from future contracts, which ultimately cost them 5x-10x the original contract value.

    In business, most things need to be handled behind closed doors because of future business concerns, though I'd think a University may be more open to hearing your position. If it were me (since I don't know all of the details and cannot comment on your particular situation), I'd contact the Dept Chair if I had what I thought to be a clear case of intellectual theft.
     
  6. PSYDR

    PSYDR Psychologist
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    you have a few choices. i am guessing that you are undergrad by the title underneath your username. you can

    1) do nothing. suck it up. (self preservation route)

    2) confront him/her and then report him/her to teh APA on ethics violations
    (academically suicidal route)

    3) ask him for an awesome LOR (immoral route)

    4) report him/her to the dean of your school for plagiarism (incredibly risky and likely to backfire on you route)

    5) sue him/her citing intellectual property rights (the only the big dogs with huge pharmaceutical deals and most likely to end your career befor eit ever starts route).

    6) contact the journal (also a bad idea)
     
  7. Anon15

    Anon15 Senior Member
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    This an ethical violation. If your professor is a psychologist a compliant can be filed with the APA ethics board. Check out the APA ethical code for more specifics.
     
  8. OP
    OP
    WannaBeDrMe

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    Thanks everyone. The only other details I feel ok sharing are that it was for a graded course assignment in a master's program and was the survey part of a simple research paper in maybe the 2nd or 3rd research course in the program? I came across the survey being used, inquired with the dept head, and he's the one who told me that this other professor had "created it some years ago."

    I'm still not sure what to do, I can't afford to burn any bridges, plus, the professor is not doing well right now... I might just let it go and treat it as lesson learned. It's just unfortunate because he just shouldn't have been teaching at all and I don't think I was the only person; I've heard rumors but I always tried to ignore them b/c that's not really my thing.

    Thanks again though, I'll ponder it this week... I'd more want an apology from the department than even from him... We all made reports against him back then for some other things and nothing came of it... well, they took away all but one of his classes so I guess that's something.

    Hope you are all well.
     
  9. Olivia101884

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    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/21/education/21prof.html

    The above happened at my Masters program too (not to me), and proper action was taken against the professor.
     

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