I developed an innovative method about which I wrote an article (not published yet) and a complete open-source library implementing it. The field is Applied Mathematics. I showed the finished work to my two PhD advisors but I was clear about the fact that it is my work alone and that the article would contain my name only (the Hardy-Littlewood rule doesn't even apply here).
One of them, which we will call A, told me it was a very good idea to do a single-author publication and that it would add more value to my PhD thesis as a whole. He was very enthusiastic and supportive about the whole thing. So that's awesome.
The other one, which we will call B, was extremely grumpy about it and didn't like the idea that he was taken out of the equation (i.e. that I worked on something alone). Yet, and this is purely my interpretation of course, he never had a problem with articles where I worked alone (just like in this case) and added his name on them, his issue is thus clearly the fact that he isn't listed as a co-author.
I am aware that co-authorship problems are a classic, and I know that I could avoid all of that by adding him as a co-author. But even though I did it with the previous articles (where he did 0% of the work), I refuse to do it this time. It doesn't sit right with me to gift someone credit he doesn't deserve, and PhD advisors expecting their students to always list them as co-authors should be ashamed of themselves.
So I pushed forward, with the encouragement of prof A, and included my work in my PhD manuscript even though prof B was actively harassing me and trying to make me have second thoughts on including a work in which prof B wasn't involved.
The dust settled after a few months, and now prof B has some academic partnership with a company called C. Long story short, he wants me to literally give him all the keys to my research (which ironically he was angry about), show him how to do every single thing I did and how to do more so that he can impress company C. He wants to do this way before my work is published, thus clearly disrespecting the fact that it's still my work.
I told him it's uncool to try to copy me in order to impress company C and that I won't help him with that, and that he should show some scientific integrity and respect the fact that my work hasn't been published yet.
Today he harassed and bullied me by phone. He kept telling me "it's not your research", thus clearly stating that he doesn't even recognize that it's my work, and when I finished talking he basically told me to go "f*** myself". His language was violent and inappropriate.
Many questions here:
- Am I in the wrong with how I insist on ownership of my research and that someone who didn't contribute anything should not be a co-author?
- My PhD manuscript has already been submitted, the jury selected and the defence scheduled. In theory prof B shouldn't be able to sabotage my defence out of spite. Is my assessment correct?
- What disciplinary measures can I take against prof B for harassing me to give him something I do not owe him at all?
- What actions can I take to protect myself without compromising on the ownership issue?
- What do I risk?