News of the WeekSCIENTIFIC ETHICS

Two Former Grad Students Sue Over Alleged Misuse of Ideas

Science  23 Apr 1999:
Vol. 284, Issue 5414, pp. 562-563
DOI: 10.1126/science.284.5414.562

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Summary

Two former Ph.D. candidates have sued professors, alleging misappropriation of research and charging their universities with complicity. Both cases--one involving Cornell University and the other, Columbia University--revolve around the prickly academic issue of who owns ideas, especially in the unequal pairing of professor and student. The universities say that's not a question for the courts to decide, but the students say that academic grievance procedures failed them. Both cases could come up for review this spring in state courts.