I am trying to implement work in someone else's published IEEE research paper, to verify its results and observe some data. To fully implement what was done, I will need to implement the published algorithm - this will involve some reverse-engineering of what was done in the paper.

Normally, when I face particular programming problems, I might use Stack Overflow or other sites to ask specific questions. Given that doing so it this case would reveal that I was reverse-engineering published work, are there any specific professional or ethical issues around the reverse-engineering aspect of this?

  • Could you clarify what is meant by "implementing?" Are you writing one? And for point 3, can you also explain a bit more clearly? Do you mean can you cite a paper that is still not finished? Nov 10, 2014 at 2:15
  • @Penguin_Knight: I just mean implementing an already published research paper just to verify its results and observe some data. Nov 10, 2014 at 2:17
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    Have you asked the authors of the original paper whether they'd be willing to make their implementation (source code) available for you to work with? Nov 10, 2014 at 15:06
  • @BrianBorchers: I have not asked them for their implementation. I am not kind of sure whether it is perfectly allowed to ask them for their implementation. Nov 10, 2014 at 23:47
  • It's perfectly reasonable to ask. They may or may not be willing to share. Nov 11, 2014 at 4:59

1 Answer 1


Reimplementing published methods is a perfectly valid and common thing to do. Research papers should describe the utilized methods to enable other people to reperform the experiments and verify the results, so I don't see a reason not to speak publicly about what you're doing.

  • In fact, this used to be the standard which helped keep science accurate, and it's all too lacking today. "Checking other people's work" is vitally important but doesn't draw funding or reputation.
    – JKreft
    Oct 28, 2018 at 20:05

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