I am PhD student and I started working with my advisor a year ago. We wrote a paper and submitted it a couple of months ago to a good journal. In the meantime, my advisor told me that he got a better position in an other university and he will be leaving without having the intention to take me with him. So I found a new advisor and started my research from scratch. After a couple of months the reviewers' results came back and it was very satisfactory.however, my first advisor changed his affiliation to the new university and removed the acknowledgement part (he payed me from the seed grant)What is bothering me is that He has't left yet and will be here for another semester. The paper is published now so I didn't want to do anything about it. But recently he asked me to write another paper for him and he also offered to pay me for that. I have a feeling that he is taking advantage of me to get tenured faster in the new university. I was thinking to bring up this issue to the Dean or whoever that is in charge of dealing with unethical practices. What do you think?

  • 3
    Can you clarify whether you are a coauthor on the first paper and whether you would be one on the second?
    – Jim Conant
    Sep 3 '15 at 21:34
  • I am the first author on both papers.
    – user39586
    Sep 3 '15 at 22:33
  • 1
    @user39586 Please follow the procedure described here to merge your accounts so that you will be able to edit and comment on your question.
    – ff524
    Sep 3 '15 at 23:19
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    Could you please indicate which action of your supervisor you consider to be unethical? Sep 4 '15 at 0:04

Alex, you may not realize this, but if your advisor indeed got a position at another university, it is quite likely that he is technically already considered a member of the faculty at the new university, even if he is still physically present at your old institution for another semester. If that is indeed the case, he has every right to represent himself as having an affiliation with the new university.

This situation is very common in the academic world: Professor X has a job at University Y, then is offered a new position at University Z. He accepts the offer but on the condition of being allowed to remain at University Y for another year (to finish up some projects, or for family reasons, or because he has a student he does not want to abandon). This type of request is almost always granted by the hiring institution. Professor X is then officially appointed to the faculty at University Z but put on unpaid leave status for a year. During that year, he is temporarily a member of two departments at two universities. It may sound strange but there is nothing untoward or improper about this.

So, based on the information you've provided so far, the scenario I described above seems to me like a perfectly innocent explanation for your advisor's behavior that does not involve any unethical behavior. If I'm off the mark here, please add more details about the situation and what you find wrong with the affiliation change.


It sounds like a win-win situation. He expands his publication list, and you add a big feather to your cap (as first author!).

But there may be something I'm not appreciating about the situation. How about if you talk with your new advisor about this?

  • I'm looking towards how the new advisor would deal with the situation.
    – Alireza
    Sep 5 '15 at 7:10
  • @Alireza - Are you by any chance the OP, having merged the two accounts? If so, could you rephrase that, please? I'm not sure, are you saying that you are planning to talk with your new advisor about the situation? Sep 5 '15 at 13:01
  • Sorry, I'm not the OP. However, as stated by Alex since he now has a new advisor I wonder how the current advisor would react to his/her student working with a previous professor...
    – Alireza
    Sep 5 '15 at 14:23
  • @Alireza - Ah, agreed. Sep 5 '15 at 14:43

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