Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Unacknowledged re-use of intellectual property

I am publishing this post because both the author and publisher involved have stopped responding to my emails.

Some of you may have noticed the recent publication of the following book:
Dan Graur (2016) Molecular and Genome Evolution. Sinauer Associates.
Chapter 6 is of interest to the readers of this blog, being entitled "Reticulate evolution and phylogenetic networks". Unfortunately, as originally published, not all of the figures in that chapter acknowledge the source of the illustration. Of personal interest to me, Figure 6.4 [which can be viewed here] is a direct copy of the first part of my Primer of Phylogenetic Networks. Needless to say, Graur's figure prominently claims to be the copyright of the publisher rather than myself.

Neither the author not the publisher has provided a satisfactory explanation, and have made it clear that nothing will be done to rectify this except in some possible future edition of the book.

So, in the meantime, could you all please note that the idea is mine, not either Graur's or Sinauer's. This annoys me, not just because of the laziness that lead to this situation, but because the figures are an original conception of mine to explain Median Networks to non-experts, and I was very happy to have developed them. Having someone else trying to take the credit takes the shine off that.


  1. This is annoying David,

    the publisher has a sample of the book online and it happens to be just that chapter 6 with your figure.

    Now, this may be a fine point, but maybe the publisher put the copyright note at the bottom of each page of this sample, in order to protect the sample. That is, whole books have these copyright notes at the second page or so and sample copies get them at every page.

    In that case, the publisher would not have meant to steal your figure. I hope they will give you the proper credit somehow.

    By the way, Graur cites Bandelt et al. (1995, 2000) in relation to the median network method, but the sample does not contain the list of references of course. So I could not check Bandelt et al. (1995, 2000). Did they, by any chance, use your figure?

    1. The lack of acknowledgement was not accidental, according to the perpetrator, but sheer laziness on the author's part. The publisher has said that they will not do anything unless there is a second edition. Finally, Bandelt's work long pre-dates my figure; however, the papers provide a very good explanation of the method.