In the preface of my thesis, I have written an information that involves me, my supervisor, and my university, in a project driven by a government agency. I say in the preface that I have designed the early plan of the project. This plan was crucial, as my expertise. The problem is that the agency fooled us: they took the plan and details associated to it (that I gave them), used it (I can prove it), fired us from the project, and made results of the project public (via online media, magazines, etc...); the public information only mention the agency, not my university.

Now, here is the thing. My supervisor do not want me to mention my involvement into this mess, although I want to mention it. It would be too long to explain why and all the details related to this story so here is my question: What could be the consequences of claiming my participation to the project in the thesis?

The agency never includes us when they talk about the project. Officially, I (or we) are not included.

  • 1
    There's a nice thread on "unacknowledgements" here.
    – user68958
    Jan 25, 2019 at 21:13
  • Interesting. This makes me think that research can also be politically oriented, and governmental actions debated (at some point). Someone pointed it: "government officials and institutions are public not private actors and as such are in democratic societies put to more scrutiny (in their official function) than private actors".
    – JrCaspian
    Jan 26, 2019 at 8:36
  • Probably not worth the risks and stress. What do you want out of this? Unless you can sue and win this cause, I think you should move on and tell this to your closest ones by the fireplace in the future.
    – Scientist
    Jan 26, 2019 at 10:12

1 Answer 1


As you say, it is a legal issue and you need to get proper legal advice elsewhere. It may well be that the government has the legal right to do what they did and you have no safe alternative. Not every government action is just, but they still may have the authority to act. There are places where fighting the government is dangerous, of course.

However, the more important question for you is how it affects your dissertation and, ultimately, your degree. If that is unaffected it might be wise to just let this go, even though it may impact on whether you can publish what you have done.

I'll guess that your advisor is giving you good advice about standing clear of the mess. There are times when you need to fight, but also times when you need to retreat in the face of authority - especially when it can have a big effect on your future.

Stay clear of the agency in the future, of course.

  • You have a good point. This issue should, in normal case, not affect my dissertation/degree. It's a small detail showing that I have experience in designing such plan, even for governmental agencies. Mentioning it is important for me as it is part of my work experience; it could make a difference in a future employment process, if I want to work somewhere else later on (e.g., in another university).
    – JrCaspian
    Jan 26, 2019 at 8:30

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