Can anyone of the members of the committee of a PhD thesis use data of the former doctoral student’ PhD thesis without attribution to the PhD thesis?

An ex-supervisor used data at a conference with some co-authors. Unfortunately this data has been already presented in another conference as a poster 6 years ago by myself with different co-authors. This data was derived from my PhD thesis 5 years ago.

When I asked her, she told me that she had the right to. In my PhD thesis, I wrote that I retain the intellectual property rights. However in my PhD program, the university policy is that results from a PhD thesis can be used by both the student and its supervisor.

  • 1
    Copyright and academic norms aside, as the author of an original work in most countries you are likely have the moral right (an actual legal right) to attribution. This exists even when you have assigned copyright (the right to exploit) to another entity, and I would anticipate it's unlikely your uni contract waived your moral rights. That said this isn't a bridge-building route to follow. May 30, 2017 at 15:40

1 Answer 1


It's hard to say for sure without knowing all the details and both sides, but typically, whenever an academic paper uses material that's been previously published (and a PhD thesis would count), academic ethics require that it be cited.

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    I agree with this. If your dissertation has been accepted, then it was presumably uploaded to dissertation collection service like the one run by the university of michigan. Your advisor should have cited this. However, be wary of calling her on this. Your will burn a lot of bridges this way.
    – user10636
    Mar 25, 2014 at 21:12

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