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Thread: figure autorship

  1. #1 figure autorship 
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    Hi all,
    I'm PhD student and I have published a paper with my supervisor for which I made several figures (he was the first author). Yesterday I read his new paper (I'm not an author on that one) and realized that he had used one of the figures I made for previous paper in the new paper. Now, he never mentioned my name nor did he mention that the figure came from another paper. Is this allowed even? What is your opinion?


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  3. #2  
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    I suppose it all depends on how mad about you are. I'm sure it breaks some small rule, but do you really care? I mean, what could you gain from making a stink aside from a forced mention? Is it even worth it?

    Personally, I wouldn't care. It's not as if the person is trying intentionally to screw you over, and it could very well be an oversight. I'd let it go.


    Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools, because they have to say something.
    -Plato

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  4. #3  
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    Acknowledgment of my work. And assurance he'd be more careful in the future... I don't think he is trying to screw me up. But I do think authors should quote their resources. And I don't like working for nothing.
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  5. #4  
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    you have a point, certainly. But your work was acknowledged in a previous paper, no? And, arguably, even without credit you didn't so any work for nothing. Someone read the paper and saw your work. Depending on the subject, your work may become integral to the understanding of the topic for another.

    Either route you go, all really depends on how much being credited for your work matters to you
    Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools, because they have to say something.
    -Plato

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  6. #5  
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    I think it is more about how much respect I believe I (and any other person) deserve. I would not be publishing a figure from another paper without (1st) permission from that paper and (2nd) quote that it is a figure from another paper. My intention was not however to go and complain to the paper but to say to my supervisor that it bothers me that he would use my work without quoting me. Anyhow, I think I'll tell him this.

    How come you think differently? Why would you choose to say nothing? To avoid confrontation? Or because you really don't care?
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  7. #6  
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    He is your supervisor. I think that might be significant.
    He was the primary author on the first paper. I think that might be significant.
    From what I have read of academia and journal publications you are bloody lucky to have been noted as a co-author of the first paper.

    From his perspective your work only became publishable because of the guidance and direction he gave you. Tackle him on the point if you wish, but don't be surprised if he laughs in your face and tells you to exercise your prima donna ego somewhere else.

    Note carefully that I am not in academia and therefore the foregoing observations may be pure codswallop.
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  8. #7  
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    Why am I bloody lucky if I have done half of the work for that paper. I deserved to be a co-author. But if these are the standards that are present nowdays than those are shitty standards. Should I really play along them? If I keep quite for him today, tomorrow, I'll keep quite for a head of my laboratory and then for the head of my Institute. I suppose I'll spend all my life being quite... I think I'll confront him on this.
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  9. #8  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ahwayela
    Why am I bloody lucky if I have done half of the work for that paper.
    Because, if my understanding of how things work in academia is correct, this is the way it is. You seem to be under the delightfully naive impression that life is fair.

    At the moment I only have your word for it that half the work was yours. I wonder if your supervisor sees it that way. You may have done much of the leg work, but how much of the insight came from you? How much of the clarificaiton and shaping of a nascent idea into a cogent exposition was your work? I don't know and I suspect, based purely on your statements in this thread, that you have an inflated notion of your contribution.

    But what do I know? Damned little. I'm just throwing out possibilities for you to cogitate on. Perhaps SpuriousMonkey will drop in and offer his two cents on the academic publication circus. That will be entertaining at least. Or some of the others here who are published authors can offer their thoughts.
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  10. #9  
    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    if the figure has been published elsewhere then there should be a reference to it at the end of the paper - if not, then it's only your word against his that it's your figure

    that may sound cruel, but i doubt whether there's much you can do about it
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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  11. #10  
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    Funny I sincerely doubt that my notion of my work is inflated. Of course that we discussed the paper and concept and ideas and writing together... If I was by any chance to write it (and I wrote other papers - that would not be my first) I would be the first author, no questions asked. I'm writing here about the paper on which I was coauthor; not about the one with the figure.

    But what I'm saying here is, disregarding does it influence me or someone else, that if some results which were previously published are presented in a paper, then they should be properly quoted. Would it make difference in your eyes if I wasn't a PhD student, but a head of some big Institute? Would I then have a right to ask for proper referencing?
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  12. #11  
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    Quote Originally Posted by marnixR
    if the figure has been published elsewhere then there should be a reference to it at the end of the paper
    Yap, that's exactly what I'm saying. The figure has been published in another paper already. I'm not asking for co-author name here (I didn't do much work) or for acknowledgments; just for a proper reference.
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  13. #12  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ahwayela
    Would it make difference in your eyes if I wasn't a PhD student, but a head of some big Institute? Would I then have a right to ask for proper referencing?
    The point I am making, or rather the two points are these:
    1. It doesn't matter what I think. I have no influence, control or involvement. I'm simply trying to tell you what I suspect is the reality of your situation.
    2. If you were the head of a large institute of course it would make a difference, not in my eyes, but in the real world. As head of a large institute you would have power. As a lowly Ph.D. student you don't. This isn't about fair, this is about fact.

    Now, if you are lucky your supervisor is a decent sort and will conced that he could have acknowledged your preparation of the diagram. If you are unlucky you will have made an enemy for life. Not a smart move.
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