My relationship with one thesis advisor was not good due to various issues including previous authorship problems, his rampant drug use and bullying behavior. Nonetheless I wrote six or seven papers with him during my PhD, all of which are now published. I was working in my home institute for six months after PhD completion but with one of my other advisors. Now I find out my advisor has published a high impact review paper which basically summarises all my first author papers from my PhD and little else. Of the 8 figures reproduced, six of them are from my first author papers. The remaining two are not data and are just wikipedia copies. The paper uses the same references I used in my PhD, it has a dozen ideas I came up with during my PhD, and basically tells the narrative I worked out for my thesis. Nonetheless, my suspicion is there is nothing I can do under these circumstances except kiss goodbye to any citations my papers were going to get as people will now refer to the review.

Any ideas?

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    Welcome to Academia SE. Can you please clarify: 1) Is there anything in this review that could not have been written by sombody who is just familiar with your work via the existing paper? 2) Is there anything that could be called an outright plagiarism of your thesis? 3) Is your thesis published?
    – Wrzlprmft
    Sep 29, 2015 at 16:21
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    Were your published papers properly cited in the survey paper? Sep 29, 2015 at 16:28
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    SInce your supervisor was a co-author on these papers, they are his papers too.
    – Alexandros
    Sep 29, 2015 at 16:48
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    He should cite the papers that contain the original ideas. Any person citing his paper will need to cite your original papers as well, as this is common practice. Not to cite the original work is bad practice. I think his overview might actually help people finding and citing your work. Sep 29, 2015 at 16:58
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    @Amanda: Was the embargo term selected by default, or do you have solid reasons for it? You can certainly point out to his department that he has violated the embargo by publishing the same ideas in a public journal; this is not ok. Did he cite your thesis in addition to your journal articles? Also lifting sentences from sources without the use of quotes is poor practice. Presumably there were in-text citations for the quote-less quotations, and not doing that just on the basis of "the source material is in the list of references"?
    – Ben Voigt
    Sep 29, 2015 at 22:47

1 Answer 1


If the images were properly cited, and your advisor got permission from the publisher (or other copyright holder) to publish copies, then there's likely little you can do. You likely assigned copyright to the publisher during the publication process. If there are proper citations, then there's probably no plagiarism.

You may not get the citations directly, but you will get traffic to your articles if the review article is decent. Many people prefer to cite the original rather than review articles. There's several examples of citations to non-original articles leading to inaccuracies since the review may get some facts wrong about the originals, thus there can be some wariness in some communities to cite review articles.

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    Thanks Bill, this is pretty much what I figured. He's smart enough not to have done anything that is actually against the rules. I just think it's a particularly nasty way of going about being an academic, particularly since I was a pretty reasonable PhD student. In contrast, one of my other advisors who I worked with on other things gladly let me contribute to an invited review paper and has also told me to put myself as corresponding author on our final paper because he's trying to do the right thing. But this all makes sense and makes me think I should just leave it be.
    – Amanda
    Sep 29, 2015 at 18:38
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    If you wanted to get belligerent, you could ask an editor at one of the publishers of your original articles if he got permission to use your original figures (presuming that you assigned the copyright to them). If he didn't, they might make a big deal out of it on your behalf. If you didn't assign copyright, you could file a DMCA takedown request with the publisher of the review article to get it pulled from the internet. Neither is likely to be great for either of your reputations, but either could put a stop to the overall infringement.
    – Bill Barth
    Sep 29, 2015 at 18:47

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