Changing Institutions and resubmitting after some time.


I started a PhD over 10 years ago and left it. It was troubled from the start. I got married and had children, two mental breakdowns, a messy divorce, a cancer scare and to cap it all, lost all of my data in an act of God! My supervisor left and was replaced by someone I do not get on with, no matter how hard I tried to like this person.

Life has intervened in the interim and now I feel in a position to take it up again to get it out of my system. Trouble is this: I don't want to submit it to the original institution.

Can anyone tell me if I have any ownership or intellectual rights over my raw data (housed in the original institution) and can I take it elsewhere?

I lost 3 chapters completely in the act of god and was so disheartened by it, I just gave up.

Besides - going back to one's research must be OK - Brian May did it!!



I have to say I was quite impressed when I heard Brian May got his Doctorate. He kept all his PhD notes up in his attic, wrote up and submitted something like 30 years later. what a pro

If it is what you really want to do then go for it.

good luck


student speak: act of god = i did not back up my stuff.

buy an external hard disk and usb stick and back up onto them. back up regularly onto dvds/cds and keep them in a friend's house. you'll be very grateful in case your house burns down/gets burgled or flooded. it happens.


You need to explain your case to the administration of that institute. There may well be problems with data ownership - a friend of mine is going through this right now and has managed to get rights to some but not all of 'her' data.

Is there enough data for a PhD rather than starting again? (I started again - it's not all that uncommon.)


Hehehe - Act of God was making back up disks on a decidedly dodgy computer infected by a nasty bug. I had backed up my work no less than 6 times and everything was unreadable. I'd been sending "coded" emails to a friend - she thought I was having an episode and ignored them!

Even the IT department couldn't work it out. Fortunately, I make notes and had filed every scribble. It was just so heart-wrenching at the time.

I became so paranoid about data that I save things in 4 formats and email them to all my accounts and two of my friends! But hey, you live and learn!


Start again as in use the data differently to what I had intended initially? If I can get some kind of ownership of my raw data from the archive, then thre is probably enough work for several PhDs...

I will get a letter written immediately.

Thanks for all your advice - it's given me food for thought!