Has anyone ever stolen your research ideas or results, or has someone else’s actions prevented you from patenting your inventions?

I am a master’s student at Hanken School of Economics. I am conducting a study for my master’s thesis related to the phenomenon of idea theft (formally known as misappropriation, which is a form of research misconduct) in Academia. In addition to a literature research, I would like to conduct a small survey (and some possibly interviews) to find out whether idea theft is a common phenomenon in Academia and what kind of consequences misappropriation of research ideas has on collaboration, innovation and patenting.

Research usually involves sharing research ideas with other researchers through collaboration with researchers from the same department or university or from different local and foreign universities. Research ideas can also be shared when writing grant applications and while networking at conferences. At best, this can lead up to a fruitful collaboration and scientific breakthroughs, but at worst the researcher might end up getting ‘scooped’, i.e. their research ideas are stolen by a colleague, a collaborator, a peer-reviewer or someone else who has access to unpublished data. Someone else’s actions can even prevent a researcher from patenting their innovation if the novelty aspect is destroyed. Furthermore, the fear of scooping might reduce the willingness for collaboration and thus affect innovation negatively.

If you want to help me with my master’s thesis, please to participate in a short anonymous survey by clicking on the hyperlink below (please see the consent message at the end of the email): https://www.webropolsurveys.com/S/79586E53ACAE7B92.par

If you also wish to be interviewed, please email me at eveliina.jutila@student.hanken.fi.  

The interviews will be transcripted in the Appendix of the thesis and the interviewees will be referred to as titles, e.g. Doctoral Candidate 1, Professor 1 or as Respondent 1, Responded 2, if wished. As this is a sensitive matter, the names and contact information will be deleted from the data. The interviewees will also have the possibility to view their interview transcripts and to withdraw their interview before the thesis is published.

Kind regards,

Eveliina Jutila

Master's Degree Programme of Intellectual Property Law
Department of Commercial Law
Hanken School of Economics