I have been through many different things with my previous advisor.

  1. He wrote publications with my research proposal with his former female student after forcing me to give up the topic. Also, as soon as I completed the simulation study for a different study, he asked me to stop again and then gave it to her again (she published it as a single author).

  2. He simply asked me a personal relationship. I told him no. Then he did his best to kick me out of my program. Even my Dept. and graduate college forced me to leave without my degree for about 6 months.

Luckily, I completed my Ph.D. and I am now doing my post doc. Recently my paper has been rejected in the 2nd round from a top journal. I heard from a colleague that my previous advisor called the chief editor (who was his student) and asked him not to accept my paper, alleging I copied his study (it cannot be true).

Despite my experiences as his advisee, I haven't ever talked about anything about him because I need a job. He just made a lot of crazy rumors about me, but I have been quiet. Should I be quiet again?

  • 6
    I'm not sure what you should do, but if what you say is accurate, then you have been treated in a gravely unethical manner. Indeed, if what you say is true, and I were your former advisor's chair, I would make unusual efforts to get him fired.
    – Anonymous
    Commented Sep 26, 2015 at 20:49
  • 5
    I would at least consider telling this story to the editorial board of the top journal where your paper was expected -- especially if you have some kind of evidence to prove your claims.
    – Anonymous
    Commented Sep 26, 2015 at 20:50
  • 4
    What does "He simply asked me a personal relationship. I told him no." mean? Commented Sep 26, 2015 at 23:33
  • 2
    Un which country is this happening? In some countries, universities have formal ways of reporting what sounds like harassment.
    – Cape Code
    Commented Sep 27, 2015 at 0:15
  • 2
    What reason did the journal editor give you for the rejection?
    – ff524
    Commented Sep 27, 2015 at 5:26

2 Answers 2


I would talk to the conciliation board on your university and to the editor . Ask your colleague, if he/she will confirms that information in front of the conciliation board. Furthermore, I would do some research (or hire someone) about code of conduct on your university valid this case. Last but not least I would write down every single accusing in a chronological form (kind of factual report).

Maybe you can prove by the timestamps of your files, that he copied ideas from you and not the other way.

  • Well, I guess it is then up to the personal character. I would fight back, even if I might loose. Try to get him some unpleasant nights and in case no one wants to hire me, go to europe or to a company. Do you have something like a law ensurance (do not know if this is common in the US) ?
    – Moritz
    Commented Sep 27, 2015 at 9:52
  • @user41655 My school forced me to leave without degree because I mentioned his unethical problems I'm confused, in your question you say that you have got your degree and that you are now a postdoc.
    – Cape Code
    Commented Sep 27, 2015 at 9:58
  • Thank you very much. I am collecting the evidences from the people to take a legal step.
    – user41655
    Commented Sep 27, 2015 at 23:18
  • Maybe you might loose, and maybe it is really a bad idea. But if everyone just ducks, guys like this one will win always.
    – Moritz
    Commented Sep 28, 2015 at 1:20

Have you ever heard of Dr Ali's case "sex for pass mark?" (See https://www.watoday.com.au/national/western-australia/curtin-lecturer-implicated-in-sexformarks-scandal-with-students-20100902-14p4g.html). Even though your case is not quite similar to the above, because your previous advisor seriously violated academic protocol, he deserves to be sacked. If what you said were true and that you had adequate evidence, I believe that you might have a chance to sue him through the media. Talk to the media first and then discuss the matter with the vice Chancellor.

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