4

I was a PhD student at an american university, and I graduated last year. After graduation, there are few papers that were sent for publications before my graduation. Because of an authorship dispute with my supervisor, those papers were withdrawn. Recently, my PhD dissertation was published online.

  • I wonder if the supervisor can publish the papers OR include the work in these papers in his future publication without citing my dissertation?
  • The second question, Can he generally publish the papers after introducing some modifications to the papers without listing my name as a co-author?

3 Answers 3

3

For the first question. If the new work relies on or extends what's in your dissertation they should cite it, whether or not it was "published" in any form, independent of any quarrels you may have had with them about other papers. That's simple professional ethics. Whether they can do what they should not is a question I can't answer.

To answer the second question we need more information about what "some modifications" means. If the work is truly joint then coauthorship is appropriate. If they are building on your work citation is sufficient, as in the first question.

3
  • I've never seen this for stapler-style theses; much like when you post a preprint and then also submit it to a journal, the eventual journal article doesn't cite the preprint of itself.
    – Bryan Krause
    Oct 13, 2023 at 14:29
  • @BryanKrause I think the OP is asking about someone else using their results. If I posted a preprint or wrote a thesis only "publiished" at/by my university that someone used I would expect to see my work cited. Oct 13, 2023 at 14:37
  • Perhaps; I got the impression that these were papers that were part of the thesis itself. Maybe I got the wrong impression.
    – Bryan Krause
    Oct 13, 2023 at 14:55
0

The irony of this situation is that both of you can publish this work without much practical consequences, but for both of you this would be not ethical. This is a deadlock.

It is not ethical to publish under your name alone because your supervisor certainly contributed to it: proposed the direction of research, gave scientific suggestions, and possibly provided the funding.

It is not ethical to publish under your supervisor's name alone because you certainly contributed to project scientifically. Otherwise, you would not be granted a doctoral title.

In my opinion, the best resolution would be that someone builds on this work and publishes some new results, citing your thesis or even summarising some important conclusions.

Please notice, that there is no institution that monitors all the ethical issues that can arise in scientific work. Someone needs to complain. If a bicycle is stolen from your basement, the police will not even know and certainly will not do anything until you inform them. But even if you inform them, the chances are slim that you will get your bicycle back.

3
  • In case, if he published the papers in his name. Can I contact the journal/conference and ask to withdrew the paper after I showing my contribution to that work?
    – Engineer
    Oct 13, 2023 at 14:02
  • @Engineer Yes, you can.
    – yarchik
    Oct 13, 2023 at 15:41
  • @engineer you could but it would be ill advised and a slippery slope as it will escalate things. Oct 17, 2023 at 18:47
-1

It's not common to cite a thesis/dissertation when the same work is published separately, because for some meanings of the word "published", a thesis/dissertation is not really published (even if it is "published" by other meanings of the word, such as existing in some repository that is accessible to others), and because the author of the thesis/dissertation would always be an author of the published paper, too.

Citing the thesis would be a bit like citing a previous draft on your computer (not exactly, but this is approximately how it's treated). It also helps avoid some messiness over the exact order in which things are finished.

I wonder if the supervisor can publish the papers OR include the work in these papers in his future publication without citing my dissertation?

If anyone contributed to the work at the level of an author, they need to be offered authorship when the work is submitted. Since this is your work, you must be allowed to be an author of a future publication of the work.

If the work is never published, and your supervisor is building on that work independently, then that is a case where they could (and should) cite the dissertation, since there is no other version to cite.

Can he generally publish the papers after introducing some modifications to the papers without listing my name as a co-author?

Modifying a paper does not remove rights to authorship that already exist.

Disputes about any of the above are not necessarily easy to negotiate, though; can your supervisor submit these papers and leave your name off the submission? Certainly they can, but this should not be permitted. If it does happen, you may need to take evidence to a journal to ask for a retraction, and separately you could submit an academic misconduct complaint through your supervisor's institution.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .