Signup date: 20 Nov 2016 at 2:43pm
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Hi Cat123, thank you very much for your contribution. This P.I. and my previous supervisor are not related.
I agree with your words. This is why, at 34yo, I understood that it's not really healthy to keep struggling for a career in such an environment. In this case, the misconduct is not a hard barrier, as in the past 2 years I worked a lot on multiple projects and I will surely find a solution for my future so to live happily - which is the only important thing.
I contribute to this post by saying that what you mention is somehow excused by other professors as a standard practice in the academic field, in which it seems "normal" for senior researchers to get undeserved credits for the work of others: https://academia.stackexchange.com/questions/184286/is-it-appropriate-to-change-author-order-before-submitting-grant-proposal
I found this interesting article on reporting plagiarism in academia, where they suggest to contribute to the journal Ethics & Behavior, and I think that I will try to find the time to write one article on this, because it really sounds a standard practice which is fairly wrong for everybody.
Hi Walter, thank you for trying to cheering me up. I believe that authorship and author order is a deal particularly in a grant proposal, and surely authorship is governing every type of documents. It is relevant because if I am able to demonstrate that I originated the idea, wrote the whole procedure and references, and basically being the first author with major responsibility, that is interesting to employers because it means you are able to get funding for your institution. The third co-author (the PhD student) joined just 2 weeks before, and wrote hardly 1 sentence: are we on the same level of contribution? She could easily say that she provided important contribution to that grant proposal, and people may actually doubt it, as they could doubt me in my current position.
However, I already communicated that I am resigning from my position. I believe that changing the order of the author just 3 days before submitting without discussing it with the author or even proper communication is unacceptable, even though it's a common practice among professors. The application did not demand the PI to be the author, so there was no real reason to demote me without letting me know.
To this, we should add of course that after inducing me in giving my project to him with the promise to let me work on the project, he changed the project. The "publish or perish" should not be our motto, and we should not continue accepting everything only to write publications.
Hi to all.
I would like to ask some opinion of yours, because I am in a "don't-really-know phase in my postdoc".
In 2020, started to work on a grant proposal for a 2-year postdoc. After 2 months, I was told by my prospective mentor that the proposal was so good that it could become a 3-year project and give a grant to a Ph.D. student. I accepted, and even reduced my own salary by 20% to help that student, allowing my prospective supervisor to act as the principal investigator. Three days before submitting, without my consent, my prospective supervisor put his name as first-author of the proposal (in the version "Final 3" of the document).
Weirdly enough, the prospective supervisor did not change the name of the file. So, the name of the file is as follow:
Name A et al.pdf
While, within the text, it is reported:
Author: Name B | Co-author: Name A
All the above things are recorded, and there are also 4 letters attached to the proposal by external advisors that report my name first.
The pdf with his name was sent to my email in two occasions (showing the comments of an external reviewer, and sending the final submitted version to the whole board)
What do you think about it?
On one side, I believe that here there is a serious and quite clear breach of law. On the other, now I am working for this person (and, on top, this person is also boycotting my research - but I am fighting back -, and half of what is written in the original proposal has been completely abandoned).
I report here also the response from my current supervisor, that makes everything difficult, making it sound as if it was not an official document, while it is a 400.000 euros grant:
"I don't think you can cite the proposal in the same way you cite a publication as it is no published document. Where did you find the citation form "Name A et al." referring to the proposal?
As the proposal was submitted by me, I guess that I should be considered the first author of the application; the form "MitautorInnen" in the application includes the following statement: "Name A developed the thematic core of the project and basic aspects of its methodology; Name C added specific aspects of structural and performance-related analysis."
It is also fine for me, however, if you place your name first when citing the proposal, if you think, it actually makes a difference. As it is no published document anyway, I don't think, it will matter much in the end..."
Thanks @abababa. Very appreciated. I understand your point. What is unclear to me is whether a court considers the circumstances. The OIA and the university have applied the Article 6.1.14 strictly. But, would a judge in court consider if: (1) the student was given non clear advice; (2) the university has acknowledged that provoked severe distress in the student due to lack of supervision and communication; (3) this stress is scientifically proven to affect the rational adjustment of a person, who becomes unable to estimate risk/reward ration and tends to ask and trust the opinion of an "expert" (aka Dean of Department); (4) a deadline was coming; (5) the observations reported timely by the same student (since 18 months) affected the viva; (6) in the entire university websites and regulations there is no written information on the possibility or procedures to postpone (so, actually, he didn't have really other options in that moment).
In that case, would the judge consider legitimate in such circumstance that the student was allowed to ask for information to his Academic Advisor (part of the PAU) and Dean of Department? And in that case, would s/he question why the Dean of Department suggested to contact the Head of School only after submitting? Because, all this has been unanswered by the OIA.
Or better: the OIAHE says one thing. I had to file a complaint before. But they do not take into consideration (1) that an article of the regulation says that a complaint is the last thing to do (also reported in the link to postgraduateforum provided above); (2) the fear of retaliation by the supervisor (also reported in the link to postgraduateforum provided above); (3) that the Dean of Department was already informed since 18 months that there were problems and two related complaints (on internal miscommunication); (4) that the Dean of Department had 10 days to inform himself before firing an advice on "the best course of action".
In the end, the OIA frames the Dean's words as just an opinion on "when to submit".
Hi Cat123, thank you very much for sharing your experience with us. Honestly, what you say makes me much more willing to continue on this journey of mine. It is absolutely ridiculous that your university is not taking in consideration your problems and trying to address those proactively - that's in everyone's sake: yours and the university's. We both went through a Progress Panel Review, so our research has been acknowledged by the internal staff. That is the more important for them to make sure you finish your thesis, succeed and get the most out of it. I honestly do not understand why the university is willing to risk all this by not changing your supervisor, given that you may feel at risk of retaliation. And the OIAHE should at least have suggested it.
The most ridiculous thing is that they often say that complaints are the last things to do, and other types of actions should be considered before proceeding, but when you do that, nobody moves. Good luck with your choices. I will think about your advice: I contacted a lawyer, and we are looking at the case.
Through this post, I wanted to know what would people perceive from this story, as it is all well documented. If you didn't feel like my AA screw my submission, that would have been the end. It is important to understand what people would think about it, because that allows you to understand what can be done and how to phrase it. This post has already provided me with lots of ideas, and I just need to understand how to focus the point so that it can't be ignored. Independently on my future opportunities: those are there, and I don't hold any grudge against my ex-supervisor and academic advisor anymore.
@rewt, your bluntness is for my sake, so thank you. I am here just to understand the case, as I am accused to be wrong while (I claim) I wasn't. However, it is true that I was aggressively intimidated to do +14 months ("submit the last day"), and I had an R&R (not a pass) with just a one-shot opportunity to pass my viva. Length was not really depending anymore on my will, as my supervisor was not cooperative anymore. If you wonder "why +14 months?", the advice of the supervisor was not really motivated and he just tried to get as much time as possible. And that, in my view, is unnecessary lifetime. I honestly think that I should be given at least the maximum level of compensation for distress.
By the way, I just discovered that the OIA writes that they consider compensation for delay (see also Case 7): https://www.oiahe.org.uk/media/2275/putting-things-right-february-2019.pdf
>> It's important to note you can never appeal or complain for a better outcome, or 'free' PhD due to supervisor negligence, but you can absolutely appeal for reimbursement if you paid money for supervision at an agreed level (written into the paperwork) and didn't get it.
I see. I got a fees-exempted scholarship for my Ph.D. (so I did it for free, but I did not have a full scholarship and had to pay my living expenses working part-time), so you think that I cannot appeal for my +14 months (when they could have been +2) if my supervisor actually did his job as reported in the university's regulations (which is technically my contract, right, through which I am entitled with some services)?
Technically that would mean 12 months of my potential career lost.
Basically, the University is using an Article that says that "the choice regarding when to submit is responsibility of the student, taking in due consideration the opinions of the staff which is only advisory". However I challenge that the advice of the Academic Advisor (also Dean of Department) was an opinion on "when to submit". I contacted him in a very confuse state, in which I had no clear information on what to do, a submission deadline was in 10 days, and there was no information online or in the regulations reporting that I could postpone my submission in such situation, nor the procedure to do it. More information in this post from 2 years ago: https://www.postgraduateforum.com/forum/phd/advice/thread/supervisor-doesn-t-read-phd-thesis/53856
So, in such situation, 10 days before my deadline, I decided to contact my Academic Advisor and Dean of Department and said "Things may go wrong since my supervisor isn't responding. What should I do?", and he said "The best course of action would be to submit by the deadline, then report your concerns to the Head of School, and then wait for the viva as, who knows, maybe the examiners will like your work". Well, they didn't. Now, the university says that it is my fault that I submitted, because I had not to submit and the AA's opinion is just advisory, and the article says that it is my responsibility to choose when to submit. That's just crazy to me. I challenge this by saying that the AA's opinion is not an opinion on "when to submit", but it is a procedure for my self-defense. And I question: why the AA said to me to contact the Head of School after submitting? Of course, I contacted the Head of School the day after my submission, who said "now that you have submitted I can do nothing".
The university and the OIA has not even considered this. The article says that it is my responsibility, and that is, no matter what the circumstance. And at this point I understand nothing, and I don't understand why this point was not taken in consideration. If this was not clear, I shew proof for any of the claims reported in this post + a literature review on how stress and uncertainty affects the rational adjustment of a person, which was completely ignored. (Btw, sorry for double posting some information.. it's just to keep information together for readiness sake)
Thank you all for your help. To clarify, I successfully got my PhD after a 14 months revision. I went under some bad times (self-esteem and depression for about 7 months), but I was able to get my PhD back. When my unfortunate thesis got rejected, I asked my Academic Advisor and Dean of Department for a scholarship to conclude my PhD, but I wasn't awarded one, and had to pay 14 months by myself.
When I say 14 months, it is because my supervisor (after this episode hit unwillingly his reputation), indicated to me to submit the revised work on the very last day I had at disposal. To be clear, when I say that "he indicated", I mean that there have been many problems and he started to show authority by saying that "if I wasn't following his indications, I was going against the advice of his and the entire department, and I would be the sole responsible for my final outcome". As you can understand, I followed the advice literally. In the end, finally, the Dean of Department changed my primary supervisor, and everything went well.
@rewt, thank you for your suggestion!
@lawphd, I answered your question about the 14 months above. To your other observation, the R&R was not just an R&R: my submission was composed of a written dissertation and some practical works. The examiners said not to present the written dissertation anymore. That work has vanished, and incredibly the banished dissertation became the basis of my currently-funded postdoc research partnering 4 universities. However, my work, formally doesn't exist.
Also, to answer your other question, my academic career has got 2 formal complaints: the first during my Progression Panel review after 18 months of research, where I complained about miscommunication problems within the department and an issue about music performance that was acknowledged as a contributing factor to my R&R. 3 months before submitting my thesis, I complained again about these facts. In both episodes my Academic Advisor (aka Dean of Department) was present, so he definitely knew there were problems. However, as reported in the below link, I could not really fire a formal complaint against my supervisor until the end for multiple reasons: an article states it's the last thing to do; need for a reference letter; only supervisor in my research field.
@abababa, its 6 weeks that he wasn't replying, not 6 months! However, I submitted half of my written dissertation to my supervisor 5 months before my final deadline (2 months before declaring the intended date of submission).
I am in a dispute with my ex-university, and I need some ideas on how to move. I already posted in here a few years back.
Is here anybody expert in law that can help me?
A few elements on the incident:
Although I provided my supervisor with my thesis since 5 months, and agreed with him on the submission date (he had to sign the final submission date) 3 months before submission, he has never opened my thesis. For 6 weeks before the submission date, my supervisor stopped replying to my emails. So, 1) I have a supervisor who is not supervising; 2) I have a co-supervisor who said the thesis needed more work and asked if I had availability for a postponement; 3) I have a submission date approaching; 4) nowhere in the university's website and regulations it is reported that I can postpone my submission in such a case nor the eventual procedure.
10 days before the approaching submission date, I was panicking, and asked to my Academic Advisor (also Dean of the Department) what to do in such case, as my viva may go wrong. Instead of doing something like contacting the supervisor or telling me to contact somebody in the university, he says: "the best course of action is submitting by the deadline; then [THEN] report your concerns to the Head of School; and then [THEN] wait for the viva that, who knows, maybe your examiners will like it".
I thought that my Academic Advisor and Dean of Department (the highest officer I could contact at the time) knew what he was saying, and thought that his "best course of action" was the right procedure to self-defend myself in case of problems. I just did what he was saying. I submitted and then [THEN] I reported my concerns to the Head of School, who said that since I already submitted he could do nothing anymore.
As you may figure out by yourself, my viva went wrong, and I was given work for 14 more months unpaid. Now the university says that "Article 6.1.14 of the PGR Code states that students are responsible for 'deciding when to submit their thesis [...] taking due account of the supervisor’s opinion which is only advisory.'"
I reported to the OIA that the Dean of Department's suggestion is not a suggestion on when to submit, but it has elements that have nothing to do with "when to submit", and the student (I) had no other options before him, as the deadline was approaching and nowhere there was information on alternative actions/postponement opportunities. But the OIA decided to not analyze this matter.
So, now what can I do? Does it make sense what has happened in your opinion?
Gerard Ridgway (Uni Oxford), states the following in this link: https://www.researchgate.net/post/If_research_is_published_in_conference_proceedings_can_it_still_be_published_in_journals
"However, for conference papers (not just abstracts) that are long and/or indexed in respected databases (e.g. the proceedings of MICCAI and IPMI are unusual among conferences in my field in that their papers are indexed in PubMed) subsequent journal submissions are expected to (a) cite the conference paper and (b) explain clearly how they extend it. See e.g. the section "Submitting a published conference paper" here - http://www.ieee-tmi.org/Author-PrepareManuscript.html "
Do you think it usually work as a "yes" but you have to explain how the new paper extends the conference proceedings?
I am working in these days to write an article for a national conference in Italy.
This would be Italian-language based, and part of my article would present the preliminary data of a perceptual study that I have made.
At the same time, I am writing an article of the sole perceptual study for an international journal with a deeper analysis, to reach a wider audience. Is it possible or are there problems of copyright/self-plagiarism? I would submit the article for the conference first. Or should I choose either one or the other?
The contents of the two articles would not be completely the same, as the conference's one would be more focused on presenting a theory, while the journal's one would be more focused at describing the results of the perceptual study.
I do believe it is possible. On this topic, once I was told that the main issue is indeed to find the supervisor. Also, there are many cases in which students change university because their supervisor moves away. So it is possible, but as chantedsnicker says, it depends on where your funding comes from: if the funding is from your university, you can't bring the funding with you.
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