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Just an update [May. 22nd, 2012|08:53 am]
Lab Rats


OK, so I decided to play hardball: first author, or take it down. Well, I didn't put it quite that way in the email to the editor, but I did say that nothing except first author would be acceptable at this point, considering that I was kind enough to wait for her (rude) response before dashing off the emails to everybody and their grandmother.

Secondly: the universsity has begun legal proceedings. I'm not sure what this means--I very much doubt that a court would be involved, though if it does and I end up testifying, it could get interesting. I wonder if she'll try to slander me in open court...

Anyway, the moral of the story is, if you're trying to get back at someone in the sciences, plagarism is a really shitty way to go about it, especially since they could always have a backup on gmail.

[User Picture]From: yelya
2012-05-22 12:13 pm (UTC)
Good luck!
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[User Picture]From: shakes
2012-05-22 03:37 pm (UTC)
be careful speaking publicly about the situation. even in livejournal. what you've said could be called libel if in fact there is a reasonable doubt to your story. i'm not questioning your character, i'm just thinking back to when i've been as upset as you are about some professional slight. i hope you and them can compromise on a co-authorship and avoid a legal battle. be worried if the university lawyers are getting involved, they aren't going to look after you.

just checked our your LJ. looks like this person doesn't have a great reputation at your old uni. well, that should help your case.

Edited at 2012-05-22 03:39 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: small_chicken
2012-05-23 05:21 am (UTC)
It's not libel if I have email statements to back up everything I've said. I know I'm walking a fine line, here, but I do realize that these are public entries and I've been very careful to stick with what can be verified (should anybody choose to do so) in my gmail account. I don't intend to drag this fight out in the public arena, actually (and this will be my last post on the matter). But I do think it's important for people to realize that it is possible to do something about something like this, even if you are no longer affiliated with academia.

And, FWIW, the lawyers were brought in by the ethics committee. I have no idea why they thought they needed legal aid, but I am also hoping that An wises up before it gets any further.
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[User Picture]From: cheez_ball
2012-05-23 05:29 pm (UTC)
I suspect your university will bring in lawyers every single time something like this pops up. It's probably a normal protocol and has been used before.
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[User Picture]From: ammonoid
2012-05-22 03:42 pm (UTC)
1st of all, good for you for standing up. Second, check with the school lawyers about what you've written online. You don't want it to hurt their case.

Good luck.
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[User Picture]From: cheez_ball
2012-05-22 04:00 pm (UTC)
Good luck! And seconding thirding being careful about what you say publically. Might want to switch these posts to friends only at the least.

Keep us updated.

FWIW, I went through something similar. My PI published my entire thesis research without me and refused to allow me to graduate - telling me my research was scooped. By her. We [the dept head and I] made a deal where I got second authorship and the MS, the PI was not allowed to ever contact me in any way or give references about me (and neither was her spouse), and I won't sue. The department head agreed and took it even further by officially reprimanding the PI in front of the entire department. The spouse was fired when he gave a horrible unsolicited reference about me. Some departments and universities take this stuff serioiusly. Which allows me to have some faith in the system. Not a lot, but some.
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[User Picture]From: small_chicken
2012-05-23 05:11 am (UTC)

I'm glad to know, in a way, that these things do happen, because otherwise everything would just seem surreal.

The Netherlands is a small country--rumor mills fly fast and furious.
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[User Picture]From: cheez_ball
2012-05-23 05:28 pm (UTC)
I've personally seen the Dutch rumor mill at work. So, yea, I wish you the best of luck.
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[User Picture]From: i_strannik
2012-05-23 02:17 am (UTC)
Be careful with the lawyers. If you have one yourself, who will look after your interests, that might help.

It's amazing how much more difficult it is to resolve an authorship dispute before the paper is submitted. Some times I wish I had sat back and watched them submit it and then filed a complaint. Alas, wasn't an option. 'took me nearly half a year. 'still don't know what will end up happening with my job though. What amazes me is just how common this crap is...
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[User Picture]From: cheez_ball
2012-05-23 05:27 pm (UTC)
Mine was a bit easier because it involved interpretation of computer code, something which no one on the author list without me was able to do. Not even with the department head watching. That and they placed all my GPS coordinates in the wrong spots for every last piece of data. The article would have had to have been retracted anyway if they didn't bring me onboard.
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[User Picture]From: viva_la_vanille
2012-05-24 03:31 am (UTC)
Best wishes with the resolution of this! I hope it doesn't get too messy.

We're all rooting for you, and would like to know how things turn out.
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[User Picture]From: elaine
2012-05-26 04:02 am (UTC)
quick question: were you a lab tech working for the university or a grad student at the uni?
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