October 30, 2009 6:17 AM Subscribe
What are some ethics considerations around a PhD dissertation? And should I do anything about a former colleague who I think violated them?
A guy I used to work with was recently awarded a PhD in a social science from a one of the universities in a big east coast state's public university system.
I admit I never liked the guy - sketchy around young women and not very good at his job - and I was happy when he was not exactly fired but it was suggested that he find another place to work. And he landed a good job in the private sector.
I have two problems with his PhD. First, that at least two of the three people on his committee, including his advisor, were people to whom he has for years been directing pretty lucrative US government consulting contracts. Isn't there some kind of conflict of interest clause in PhD committees? Like you can't be the direct financial beneficiary of someone whose work you're supposed to be evaluating?
Second, that I think a lot of what he presented as his own work was actually done by other people at the place where we both worked. Not so much me, but other people. And not just data entry or mechanical work, but some of the basic ideas that he presents were first suggested and worked out by people other than him. I don't know if he gives credit for this in the dissertation, but I doubt it.
So the questions are:
- Are these legitimate concerns?
- If they are, is it worth it for me to raise them? I wouldn't benefit directly, since I don't work with him anymore, but its been bugging me for the last year or so.
- If I do decide to do something about it, who do I complain to? Do schools like this (for example, SUNY Albany) have an ethics panel? An academic integrity review committee?