264

No. It’s not appropriate and this is an obvious, blatant abuse of authority. I have a word in mind to describe this professor, but unfortunately am not free to disclose it as I am under an NDA. (It starts with an “i” and ends with a “t”). Edit: to those asking “why not?”: teaching the class is the professor’s job. He is literally (in the literal sense of “...


236

One of the reasons Science has been so successful is that scientists treat knowledge and tools as public goods. We don't hoard knowledge, but rather we write papers, share techniques, offer suggestions, etc. There are certainly cases in which sharing isn't beneficial, but these seem not to apply here. So of course you should share your computer program! You ...


185

With that in mind, would it be appropriate to simply send those odd 10 dollars to the author of the book that I am illegally downloading? First, I would be concerned about your legal exposure. You would be effectively admitting piracy. Second, you cannot unilaterally change the terms of sale. When the professor published the book, they agreed to sell it ...


156

He may or may not be "protecting his ideas", but, in fact, teaching has as a goal the dissemination of ideas. If one wants to keep secrets or have proprietary stuff, don't pretend to teach a friggin' class! :)


151

You developed the code as part of your curriculum. It's quite possible that therefore, the source code belongs to the university anyway. This does depend on the laws of the country your university is in. Also, I don't see what you should be concerned about. Someone else building on your work is exactly how science is supposed to proceed. If I were you, I'd ...


126

I find the moralistic tone of some of the other answers a bit distasteful, and also unhelpful. It’s pretty clear to me that you didn’t come here to ask for a general lecture about the pros and cons of piracy of textbooks and other digital content, and that is the sort of knowledge that already exists in a zillion different places and isn’t worth repeating. ...


109

Legally, you can't be made to sign a retrospective, retroactive contract. Professionally, if your supervisor or the university person responsible for the CASE studentships decided to be obnoxious about it, they could make the completion of your PhD uncomfortable. As long as you don't need the CASE money or the on-site experience, this looks like a useless ...


104

I don't understand most of the current answers, which mostly assume you want technical advice without paying for it, but requiring an NDA. If this is indeed what you want, I agree it's a bad idea. However. You write that this professor has already gone into business. This implies that he has a certain basic understanding of how business works. He probably ...


89

I don't know what your university regulations are, but there must be something in there that says that a professor cannot refuse teaching to their students, no matter what you sign or don't sign. It's time to ask your student union/representatives/whatever you have to reach out to your dean and demand a different solution.


87

Ideally in this situation you would make your program publicly available. Giving others access to this code does not prevent you from using it, and will help you build reputation within your field. Not only that, but by making it publicly available rather than to just your advisor there is no risk of them claiming your work as their own - which I would ...


77

As someone who works in scientific computing, I agree with what others say, and would likely take it a step further. To put it hyperbolicly: Refusing reasonable requests to code used in a published article is ethical misconduct. If you relied on the output of a program to produce your scientific result, then that program is part of the "materials" of your ...


75

I'm not aware of any blanket prohibition, anywhere, that say that you can't use code developed during a PhD for a commercial venture - but most Universities in the US will have some kind of intellectual property agreement in place to state what the process is for doing this. You will need to check with officials at your University to see what agreements you ...


72

If you wrote the code as part of your work as a PhD candidate, and were at all considered an employee of the institution as a PhD candidate, then the institution may well own intellectual property rights to the code you write ("work for hire" rules). This of course depends on the laws of the country where your institution resides. If you wrote code that is ...


68

I would suggest a different tactic altogether: Give them a license to use the software as well as any and all updates for free. Support should not be free but done by others under your instruction. In return ask them to sign over any previously perceived ownership of intellectual property. Next ask that they help you by providing suggestions for improvements ...


60

Let's see: you want the professor to freely give out their trade secrets on their real device, so that you can build a potentially competing device; and you want the professor to sign an NDA on your non-existent device, so that they can give you free technical advice on it? I think that's going to get you a "ha ha ha ... no". I also think you need to ...


60

At least in my field, Acknowledgements are generally regarded a fairly informal mechanism. There are few rules dictating what must and mustn't go in there. However, given that mentions in the acknowledgements don't dilute formal credit, I see no reason not to be as generous, gratuitous and grateful as possible in an acknowledgements section. Its not like ...


46

I wrote software on my own time, by my own decision, and with my own resources during my undergrad career at a university in the US I want to go through the same thing, but the head of the department seems to refuse to pay (or at least say they are unable to pay for it) because the software was just a "senior project." You have a disagreement ...


45

If the paper has not yet been accepted for publication, you are free to withdraw the paper from consideration. Depending on the policies of the journal to which you submit the article, you may need to disclose the prior submission, and explain why you withdrew the publication from consideration. Unfortunately, there's little you can do to stop the ...


43

The PI asked me to put the algorithm on Github. Accordingly, I created a repository on my personal account and later added the PI as a collaborator. I am a Github novice user but my understanding is that this would be sufficient to push/pull the repository and generally make modifications to it. It is. The problem is that a personal account is, well, ...


41

aesmail's post is right on. In addition, I would recommend creating some Google Alerts for some unique sentences or phrases from your article as well. Use quotes around the whole text in each query. Make sure that the ones you pick are unique to your work by finding query strings that are exactly from your work and return no results on Google now. That way, ...


40

I think that your best bet is to contact the IP department at the academic institution where you did your PhD: They can inform you about your rights concerning the work you did there as a student Potentially it's also in their interest to get credited for the work done by their PhD students, so they might be your ally in case there is a legal case. Edit (...


37

My interpretation of the situation is this: This is not an academic issue since you are approaching somebody who leads some business with some business-related issue. The fact that that somebody is also a professor and that somebody who you know has a class with this professor seems unrelated. So my advice would be: Handle this as if it were a business ...


36

A lot of people have mentioned making your code available, and I entirely second that. But to get more specific, put it on GitHub. Public repositories are free, it keeps a version history of your work so that even you can't mess it up in a terminal way, and others can branch your code off in another direction and develop it, all while keeping the proper ...


36

Actually, what you should do, if you want to behave ethically, is purchase legal copies of the books you've stolen. This answer has generated a lot of controversy. Let me explain a bit of the background and thinking behind it. It will take me more than one edit to be complete, so please be patient. Most of this annex is derived from comments I've made ...


36

First, it would be good to know if that is a claim they can legally make where you are. It is possible that it is an empty claim. Second, if it is a proper claim, you should learn how it is interpreted by the university. A place making such a claim should have an office at which you can learn the consequences. I suspect that all it means is that you need ...


36

The instructor is paid to teach, not write a book. If the book gets in the way of his/her teaching duties, either s/he give up teaching OR give up the book. Moreover, I doubt this instructor can prevent random people walking in his/her classroom so the whole NDA is 100%-proof shhhhhhhhugar.


35

With the way this question is framed, "retracting" the idea sounds both difficult and unethical. Based on the information given here, my advice, and the only ethical path, is for the supervisor to collaborate closely with the student on the work. If the idea is good, the pair should work toward a co-authored publication. This question states that, "since [...


34

After thinking about it a bit more, I wouldn’t do this. Here’s a few reasons: The professor will have to waste their time trying to decide whether or not to accept your offer, and surely they have better things to do. They may have to declare such sources of income if they become large enough, so you’re creating issues for them without offering much help. ...


29

As far as I know, a grant is given almost always to a PI (principal investigator, i.e. head of the lab). Sometimes postdocs can also be listed as PIs, but I don't remember seeing a grad student as a PI on a grant. So even if technically you wrote the grant proposal, the PI will receive the grant. This means that he is the one that can write in his CV that ...


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