Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Ph.D. thesis: cited in 2003 but forgotten by 2009?

A post titled Alumnus spurns PhD over plagiarism row discusses plagiarism charges brought by a former Ph.D. student against his advisor.

The student, who got his Ph.D. at the University of Leeds but now wants to renounce it, seems to raise a strong argument to which the university does not have a good response:

Dr Parmar noted in his appeal that professors Wood and Baird had cited his thesis in a 2003 book. In his official response, David Hogg, pro vice-chancellor for research and innovation at Leeds, accepted this made it "a little less likely" that they had forgotten the thesis by 2009, but said their explanation remained "credible".

This fact pattern would make a good hypo for inequitable conduct in patent law. This of course is more than "forgetting" a reference after six years; it involves forgetting research that was directed by the professor/copyist, presumably making it more memorable than some random paper once seen.

One could say this would make a good plot line for Law & Order, but Law & Order already did it.,

There apparently is no procedure for renouncing a degree: Dr Parmar was "disgusted" with this verdict and has asked to "resign" both his PhD and a prior BSc. The university said there was no procedure for doing so but that he could be removed from its list of alumni.


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