Paper trails (was: Re: Advisor borrowing ideas)

Garrett H. Riggs GHRIGG01 at ULKYVM.LOUISVILLE.EDU
Fri Feb 5 11:19:27 EST 1993


Dept. of Anatomical Sciences & Neurobiology
Phone: (502) 588-7288

The question was raised:

> What good does the laboratory notebook proof of priority really do?

Good question.  I'm not an attorney (it would be nice to hear from
one), but it's my understanding that in many legal circumstances,
such a documented record is of some value.  Apparently the courts
often look at a comprehensive, running chronological record as
a useful document since the record may contain references to
other people, events, etc., that can serve as corroborating evidence
of the temporal priority of ideas or events.  The assumption appears
to be that most people lack the resources to fabricate a cohesive
and elaborate hoax (like notebooks full of lab notes).  Whether that
assumption is reasonable remains open to interpretation.

In the particular circumstances described in this thread,
though, it's hard to know if such a document would really be helpful.
In my experience, one might often have a *legal* case against an
immoral or unethical advisor, but the *practical* exigencies of
academic life sometimes dictate that one drop the matter.  I have found
myself in several situations where I had to choose between "winning the
battle and winning the war."

A tough situation all around.

Regards,

Garrett

____________________________________________________________________
Garrett Riggs
BITNET: GHRIGG01 at ULKYVM
INTERNET: GHRIGG01 at ULKYVM.LOUISVILLE.EDU
Department of Anatomical Sciences and Neurobiology
University of Louisville School of Medicine
Louisville, Kentucky  40292  USA




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