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endintears0
Wednesday, 4 May 2011 at 6:56pm
Thursday, 8 March 2012 at 11:33am
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Thread: Former PhD supervisor's right to my source code?

posted
07-Mar-12, 09:34
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posted about 7 years ago
Hi all,

During the course of my PhD, my relationship with my supervisor soured (see http://www.postgraduateforum.com/threadViewer.aspx?TID=18174).

I am now working (part-time) in academia in a post-doc in which he is not directly involved, and I originally tried to continue to work with him on one or unrelated projects. However, we have had another falling out and I want nothing more to do with him.

One problem I am facing in this "divorce" is that he is asking me for the source code I wrote while working on my PhD. I don't want to give this to him as I intend to make it publicly available on my own terms, when I have the time to tidy it up, document it, and perhaps package it all up in a nice, user-friendly application.

Does he have any right to this code? Playing devil's advocate, I developed it while under his supervision so you could argue it was joint work. However, from my perspective he was a terrible supervisor who made no direct contribution to the code, only advice on the models which it implements.

Fresh opinions on the matter would be greatly appreciated.

Thread: 5 months left and ready to quit

posted
07-Mar-12, 09:21
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posted about 7 years ago
Apologies for resurrecting an old thread but I thought it would be nice to share the conclusion to this story for anyone else who finds themselves having similar problems.

Following all of those issues, I spent the next 5 months writing up my thesis and submitted it one day before the deadline. Last week I was awarded my PhD after a January viva that was genuinely a lot of fun. My examiners more or less said it was one of the best theses they have ever examined.

Thread: 5 months left and ready to quit

posted
09-May-11, 19:52
edited about 4 seconds later
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posted about 8 years ago
Update:

I met with the head of department and she was incredibly sympathetic. We went over my work and she agreed it seems like I have enough material to write up, and that it's madness to be contemplating further methodological work at this stage. She was also aware that this is not the first time my supervisor has created problems like this by being too harsh on his students. She is going to have a word with my supervisor.

So I am cautiously optimistic, although I don't know how things will play out once they have their meeting.

Thread: 5 months left and ready to quit

posted
04-May-11, 21:32
edited about 15 seconds later
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posted about 8 years ago
Unfortunately I do not have faith in the postgraduate tutor. He has been known to downgrade students' registration (from PhD to MPhil) at the first sign of trouble, for instance.

I could have a meeting with the head of the Maths department, particularly as she was one of the examiners for my transfer exam. However, aside from that contact I don't know her well enough to gauge whether she would be supportive of the request to help mediate.

Thread: 5 months left and ready to quit

posted
04-May-11, 20:21
Avatar for endintears0
posted about 8 years ago
Hey all,

I think the title says it all. I have 5 months left before I absolutely have to submit (it will have been 4 years) and my first supervisor is making my life miserable.

I've been working hard for the past 3 and half years and feel like I have done more than enough work to simply write up and get it submitted. The problem (in my supervisor's eyes) is that my PhD is in Statistics and a lot of that work has been the application of existing methods to new application areas, rather than the development of new statistical theory (although there's been some). He feels like the applications side of things counts for very little from the point of view of a Statistics PhD, and that I still (at this late stage) need to be producing more statistical research.

Is he correct? This doesn't seem right to me. I've spoken to my second supervisor about it (who is in fact an experimentalist whose data sets I have been analysing) and he has been very supportive. Of course, in his mind the applications really do matter - so it's a bit hard to get an outside opinion on the situation.

I've been working a couple of part time jobs since my funding ran out at the end of last year, one is a research position with my second supervisor and the other is an applied statistician role in industry. I've been really enjoying both of them but of course the extra time commitment makes it even harder to envisage continuing to do practical work at this point in the PhD. My industry boss has also been really supportive of the situation (especially after having seen some of the downright abusive emails I've received from my first supervisor) and has been willing to reduce my hours for the time being, so in fact I am now only working one day a week.

I sent the very first draft of my very first thesis chapter (mainly copy and pasted from papers and my transfer report, with a bit of work to tie it together) to my first supervisor today and he took it as another opportunity to tell me my work is not up to PhD standard, rather than provide useful feedback.

I think the fact I have been enjoying my jobs so much is that I really have to ask if this is worth all the, frankly, shit that my supervisor is putting me through.

Any comments, advice, questions, musings, etc. on the topic would be genuinely really appreciated.
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