Suppose I am a Ph.D. student in machine learning and have an idea about developing a model that I presume to be more efficient than existing models. Although I have a broad idea of coding to some extent, I don't know to code my model on a deeper level and it will take much time.
In order to publish a paper on the model, there is no need to prove the efficiency of the model mathematically. It is sufficient to show empirically that my model performs better than the existing ones.
As undergraduates have more machine learning programming exposure due to the lab sessions, project works they handle, etc., they can do coding much more easily compared to Ph.D. students.
I have three options, either ethical or unethical:
- Use an undergraduate student and ask the person to code by giving them all my requirements. Then publish the paper with me as the first author and the coder as the second author.
Although many of my fellow students use this option, I don't like it. Coding alone generally does not fit to offer authorship as packages in Machine learning generally have the inbuilt functions and my model can be developed using them.
- Use an undergraduate student and ask the person to code by giving them all my requirements. Then publish the paper with me as the sole author.
I personally don't like this idea as a rule of my institute says that a Ph.D. student should be the first and most significant author in the papers they publish. And I am aware that I cannot publish my idea quickly without the help of an undergraduate person. So I am feeling that it is not a complete contribution on my own as I need the help of the person for executing all my intermediate ideas in developing the model as I am not well aware of the functions provided by the package.
- Learn coding by spending time and then do it on my own and then publish the paper as the sole author.
I am biased towards the third one as it is ideal and ethical to do. But the only issue is that the option is time-consuming. It can take so much time to learn to code and then develop my model. There is a chance that some others may publish the same idea during this time.
I am confused about the first two options. To be honest, In the situation, I am discussing, coding seems to be an important resource than the idea. Because many ideas in machine learning papers are easy and publishing papers also does not need any mathematical proof, so the implementation is a key factor for publication.
In this context, I want to know whether options 1 and 2 are ethical or not.