In 2018, I shared an idea with an assistant professor from another university. I shared this because this is an idea many people are working on and are developing approaches to solve it. My PhD advisor himself is not the one from this problem area, so I had little help from him. This is a project I prepared and developed, as other sections of my PhD were getting done. The other section of my PhD use the solution developed by this project. I thought this solution could be a separate chapter and a good paper itself.
Being from biology/genetics background I am very familiar with the problem and solution I came up with. I had to learn python programming on my own to write solution to the problem. In the beginning I had difficulty putting maths together and writing it into a programming language (python). Nevertheless, I achieved more than I had expected by learning myself and by getting a lots of help on stack overflow.
I thought that sharing this with the one working on a similar avenue might give me some insights and corrections if there is any. The professor (from another university) received the email and said it was “interesting” and was looking forward to reading the paper, in just 2 lines. I received no further communication in following months and I felt that he/she did not had a time to look into it.
This is the idea I have been trying to develop in my PhD since 2016 and I had something prepared by early 2018. I shared this idea around the mid of 2018. Around the end of 2018 I had some health issues which was going on for about more than a year. The health issue had become chronic and I had to take a break for little more than 2 years. And I just recently (2021) started on the process the last couple of months.
I recently realized that the professor had taken my idea, twisted it a little bit, gave it a new name, and published an article (a single-author paper) in 2019. When I came across the paper, I was really shocked because the idea was so similar to the approach I had developed. He included some sophistication because he is mature than me in terms of academic training. This incident has frustrated and angered me over his non-professionalism. If only he/she had just mentioned me on the paper (saying that there was an unpublished work on progress) or consulted me on it I would have been fine, but he/she just took the idea and changed a little bit to make it look his/her.
The work I had shared with him/her is on Github as public repository. The reason I put it in public mode is because I was less worried about it being stolen. I find people in academia to be honest, and I also wanted other people (especially biologists) to use it and help develop it by receiving feedback, and questions. I did receive interests from other academicians. These are the links to work I had put on github and question I had asked about it several times on stack:
I have prepared an email response about this violation (a draft) to that professor (who I had shared my idea with), and had almost sent it. But, I am currently gathering myself to prepare for how to respond to this. I have also cc’d the head of the department and dean of the arts and sciences of that university. However, I expect he/she will be defensive about it and even possibly be worried and angry. So, I want to think with a cool head and develop a more professional approach to handling this problem.
How do I take this forward? Please help.