Could someone be stealing your unpublished data?

It is more likely than you might think, especially if you ever travel to other countries.

Before you dismiss this as paranoia, read on.

When I was a graduate student at UCSD in La Jolla, CA, there were rumors of two highly competitive labs there spying on each other including people sneaking into the room where the other lab had their weekly lab meetings to see if they could copy something off the whiteboard. We were never sure if it was happening, but it rang true.

Another story I heard is of a professor who had identified a novel gene and protein that was extremely important. Someone in the audience, a professor, copied down some of the sequence of this new factor and nearly scooped the professor who presented the data.

These examples sound pretty bad, but low tech.

Now scientific spying has gone hi-tech as witnessed by an article in the NY Times. Their example was China.