What do I do if my professor plagiarizes my idea?
December 15, 2009 7:11 PM Subscribe
I suspect one of my undergraduate professors is writing an article based on an idea I proposed to him last spring that he intends to submit for publication in a literary journal. What should I do?
posted by anonymous to education (37 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
The only proof I have is an email I sent to the professor that details my research into an overlooked (or at least unwritten about) aspect of a specific text and my undercooked insights as to the significance of my findings. I don't have any written responses from him and we only communicated about the idea verbally, in his office. During these conversations, he admitted to me that he had never considered my reading of the text and had never read an article mentioning my findings. Subsequently, he produced some findings of his own, but on their own they were very unremarkable because they mostly augmented what I had already discovered. He presented them during lecture almost parenthetically, with a wink and a sidelong glance in my direction, but he did not discuss my findings or mention I was the catalyst for his insights.
This was not an assignment for class; I never turned anything in that he graded. He was determined to get me to write something with him and submit it to a journal, but I refused because literary studies was my secondary field of study—I have since gone on to graduate school to study in an unrelated field—and I have little desire to see my name in print (if I did, it would be on my own terms, with my coattails free of parasites). Does my reluctance to pursue this give him license to write an article presenting my research as his own? What recourse do I have if I find my ideas in print, under his name, given my limited amount of proof? Would the email I sent him be enough to get a journal to force him to share his byline with me or to print an addendum to the article?