Immoral and unenforceable 2

March 25, 2010

I was surprised to see that "What's yours is ours ..." focused on the extent to which institutional regulations justified Remco Polman's actions, but ignored the issue of his professional responsibilities to his student.

I say this having recently attended a supervisory meeting during which I was strongly encouraged to submit a journal paper in my own name exploring aspects of my PhD research. The advice was justified on the grounds that the conclusions would contribute to disciplinary debate, that writing the paper would stretch me academically, and that publication would strengthen my future applications for academic posts.

After reading your article, I was left wondering why, if Polman had thought the research in question important enough to publish "substantial sections" of it under his own name in 2007, had he not given similar advice to his supervisee?

The situation the article describes is pertinent to the ongoing debate about the number and type of institutions that should receive doctoral funding. It identifies a significant divergence between universities, and the events reported indicate the consequences of adopting different regulatory positions on intellectual property.

Therefore, it is possible to identify the extent to which each institution's regulations support or hinder the recognition of doctoral students' contributions to their disciplines. This would provide an evidential base that could help determine how far institutions are meeting research council expectations regarding doctoral student support - and their suitability for associated funding.

Peter Oakley, Doctoral student, Department of anthropology, University College London.

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