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During my PhD studies, I published a journal article (one of total four) in a prestigious journal of my field. I gave my codes to my PhD supervisor, but he messed up things in the lab and lost it (I also didn’t care and lost, for I am pursuing different directions).

Two years after publication, my PhD advisor wanted to commercialize my PhD work and wanted me to develop the codes again without willing to credit me for my efforts. I found his emails harassing, malicious and blackmailing and stopped responding him by directing his emails to spam folder.

Out of desperation, he himself developed some codes and submitted a corrigendum in which he clearly tried to push an agenda to suit his commercialization efforts (I know what I am talking, believe me on this). This included falsifying earlier findings just because he didn’t understand my work and cannot implement it and thus, presented an alternate algorithm which clearly is inferior. From my experience with that algorithm, I know from his description of implementation in the corrigendum that the results he presented are clearly made-up. My PhD advisor has basically faked results in a corrigendum to suit his commercialization efforts.

What are my options ?

  1. Can I convey it to the journal ? (I have already conveyed to the journal that this corrigendum is submitted without my approval.)

  2. Can I offer my ex advisor to re-implement but giving me the due credit? What should I do?

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    2: If things are as you are describing them, then this is a lost cause; if your advisor is willing to lie about you for financial gain, then an email won't help. Unless you are sending it to establish a paper trail showing that you've tried. I don't know what to suggest, but I'd definitely let the journal know in your place. Keep to the facts, however ("From my experience with that algorithm, I know from his description of implementation in the corrigendum that the results he presented are clearly made-up" is a bit too much on the guess side; stick to what you definitely know). – darij grinberg Nov 1 '17 at 5:20
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    I worked in Bayesian machine learning and what my ex advisor has described in the corrigendum is computationally impossible unless he has access to an imaginary super computer with implementation in the some magical programming language. – Anonymous Nov 1 '17 at 5:33
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    In all reputable journals I know, a corrigendum can't be published without all original authors' consent. Simply telling the editor-in-chief that you do not agree with the corrigendum should be sufficient to get it retracted. – Roland Nov 1 '17 at 14:05
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    Are you willing to help him develop the codes in principle? If so, make it unambiguously clear that this will only happen if you get full credit. If not, just make your position clear to the journal and stick to facts that are hard and proven; no speculations, even if you are sure. Be aware that, if you help them, and if your impression of them is correct, they may still attempt to cheat you out of credit and/or profit, so you may want to take suitable precautions to preempt that. – Captain Emacs Nov 1 '17 at 14:42
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    How do you actually know that he submitted a corrigendum? Did he tell you, did the journal send you the corrigendum to review, or was the corrigendum already published? – JeffE Nov 9 '17 at 21:14
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If you have incontrovertible, hard evidence that the adviser is falsifying data for personal gain, and can demonstrate as such beyond any reasonable doubt, you may have an ethical obligation "to science" to pursue this.

Outside of this, it is probably best to walk away. You already stated that you 'don't care' and even sent his emails to spam. Do you even want to be associated with this work (assuming he wants to re-do things and give you credit)? It sounds like the work would be significant and the rewards fairly minimal. Besides, based on your description, if he 'cannot implement' this commercialization attempt, there's little to gain.

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Can I convey it to the journal ? (I have already conveyed to the journal that this corrigendum is submitted without my approval.)

In all reputable journals I know (of), a corrigendum can't be published without all original authors' consent. Simply telling the editor-in-chief that you do not agree with the corrigendum should be sufficient to prevent publication (or get it retracted). However, you should be aware that this corrigendum (even if not accepted) casts doubt on the original paper and the editor-in-chief might rightfully decide to investigate this. If your former supervisor is the corresponding author, this might give him opportunity for further mischief. The investigation could lead to a retraction of the original manuscript because obviously some of its authors believe that it is not correct.

Can I offer my ex advisor to re-implement but giving me the due credit?

If you are willing to do the re-implementation, you can of course offer to do it. You can ask anything you want for this work, including co-authorships, acknowledgements or payment. However, my personal policy is that I don't work with people who have low ethical standards.

Finally, we can't tell you what you should do. That's your decision.

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