Questions tagged [ethics]

On making a decision based on morals or common ethical codes instead of etiquette, rules, institutional or government policy, or technical or procedural reasons.

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Ethics Protocol Breaches

I am a 1st year PhD research student in a lab which involves heavy amounts of animal research. I've been pulled aside due to reckless/negligent breaches of our lab's animal ethics protocol, which has ...
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8 votes
1 answer
897 views

Is it unethical to submit a paper extending the results of a previously submitted, yet not published paper, without giving proper reference?

A while ago, I have submitted a first paper and it has been Under Review for a while. After submitting the paper, I was already working on another paper, related to the first one and requires giving ...
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3 votes
0 answers
129 views

First Research Project with Live Insect Specimen and the Ethical Considerations

I have studied different insects for my entire academic career, but I've never had to work with live specimens before. I am considering a project where I will need to capture live dragonflies and look ...
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8 votes
3 answers
2k views

Is is unethical to review a major revision manuscript just by reading the point-by-point response?

I'm new to peer-review and my experience in this domain was receiving a reviewer report rather than providing one. A while ago, I have requested a major revision to a manuscript that I have been asked ...
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17 votes
4 answers
6k views

Can I contact an author I reviewed for a typo in his manuscript without saying I'm his reviewer?

I reviewed a manuscript which used my work. I recommended acceptance with minor revisions. Only after submitting my review, my wife discovered that my name is misspelled once in the manuscript. I'm a ...
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0 votes
1 answer
90 views

Can a postdoc work on his hypotheses that were part of a winning grant proposal, even through his P.I. removed them from the project?

This post related to Research Integrity & Ethics. I work for a P.I. in a project. I was initially funded by my hosting organization to write a project proposal for a funding dedicated to ...
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41 votes
10 answers
10k views

Is it ethically justifiable to conceal a fatal conceptual flaw in a thesis to avoid an unaffordable 2-year setback if the flaw is the advisor's fault?

A couple of decades ago I graduated from a Russian university with an MS in physics, and my MS thesis contained a critical flaw. In short, the thesis was about static perturbations in a certain ...
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4 votes
1 answer
292 views

My university is forcing me to take required classes at a different campus, which will be very expensive to me. Do I have any recourse?

I am a 4th year undergraduate physics major. At the beginning of my college career, I made a spreadsheet showing which classes I would take each semester. My advisor told me every semester that the ...
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1 vote
2 answers
80 views

Can I submit a research proposal (originally made for a PhD) for postdoc fellowship under different PIs?

I made a research proposal for a PhD position. I was able to secure a conditional offer from a UK university but did not secure funding as the UK prof did not fund my project. After completing my PhD ...
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  • 11
11 votes
9 answers
7k views

Ethical implications of using scraped e-mail addresses for survey

I have an interesting (in my mind) experiment in mind: it entails e-mailing hundreds or thousands of corresponding authors, asking them to voluntarily fill out a short survey about their work. I would ...
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7 votes
1 answer
2k views

After I chose a preferred referee for a submitted paper, is it un ethical to drop an email to the referee saying that I suggested their name?

I journal I recently submitted a paper to asked me to suggest two referees, which I did, with explanation of why I picked them as referees. While I was writing the paper, I had informal email ...
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2 votes
2 answers
176 views

Can I use other people's data for comparison?

I have done an experiment on fake news detection. Now I want to use other approaches' experiment results for comparison using the same data set. Do I need to redo their experiment to obtain the ...
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14 votes
5 answers
7k views

Can I decline a PhD offer after deferral, and how to communicate with my professors for reapplying other PhD programs?

I got a PhD offer from a US university (the same university I completed my undergrad degree), and I asked for a deferral earlier this year (as I'm planning to do a one-year master's program at a UK ...
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1 vote
2 answers
447 views

Are there any international standards, laws, or governing bodies that deal with allegations of plagiarism?

Consider a case of plagiarism like this one. The allegation in this case led to formal investigations, articles being retracted, and researchers being sanctioned. Who is the responsible body for ...
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1 vote
2 answers
337 views

My professor seems to be using another professors course work and making mistakes because of the disconnect. Are my emails too much?

I'm 27, and currently in my first year and first semester at a community college, fully online. The professor in one of my classes has, on multiple occasions, made mistakes in regards to grading or ...
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2 votes
0 answers
107 views

Why are referees anonymous? [duplicate]

For context: I had this question when reading this question. I'm not in academics, but I wonder, why is a referee anonymous in the first place? The only reason that comes to my mind is that a referee ...
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58 votes
14 answers
14k views

Is it ethical to make an anonymous referee realize we know who he is?

A year ago we submitted a manuscript to a high-profile journal. I was a co-author. The review process for this journal is single-blind—that is, the authors do not know who the referees are, while the ...
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0 votes
2 answers
295 views

Is it ethical for a referee to recommend rejection after many months from receiving the manuscript?

I am an early-career researcher in mathematics. In general, after submitting a paper to a journal, it is advised to wait six months before requesting information about the status of the review process....
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  • 905
42 votes
5 answers
5k views

What are the ethics of reviewing a paper, spotting issues, not raising them in the review, and then trying to publish a paper on the issues?

I had a paper that went through a long peer-review process (~1 year). One of the reviews seemed to obviously be from a specific individual who strongly disagreed with the paper because it critiques ...
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  • 523
0 votes
1 answer
166 views

Shall I collaborate/email with a peer who've been taking contribution from others' working paper without properly citing?

There is a peer researcher working closely to my main topic. I recently got some results built upon his latest papers. However, I knew that he paraphrased a (small) section of someone else's work into ...
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  • 977
7 votes
3 answers
3k views

When submitting a paper to a journal, what is considered an original figure?

It is often the case that you want to make a similar point compared to what you made in previous papers, but in a different context. But you can't use the same figure that you used in a previous paper ...
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0 votes
2 answers
184 views

What to do about a dubious competing publication in the same journal I'm submitting to?

Before submitting my predictions paper, I spotted a paper with alternative methods for the same predictions. It appeared two weeks ago online-first in the same journal I'm submitting to. Digging into ...
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-4 votes
3 answers
231 views

Is it possible to ethically use an undergraduate for publishing my research as a PhD student in the following context?

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 ...
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8 votes
4 answers
5k views

I have written one mathematical paper which I want to publish, do I need to give professor co-authorship?

I am an undergrad student studying in the last year of my bachelor’s. I have written one paper in number theory discovering one new elementary method. I want to publish it. For mentorship I went to my ...
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0 votes
2 answers
372 views

PhD advisor bullies me because I refused to give him total ownership over my research and help him copy it before it's public

I developed an innovative method about which I wrote an article (not published yet) and a complete open-source library implementing it. The field is Applied Mathematics. I showed the finished work to ...
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  • 131
64 votes
8 answers
11k views

What good is my paper if the code is not open source?

I have been working with my research group on a number of papers in a certain area of Computer Science. These papers have a certain portion which is theoretical (i.e. contains theorems, formalisms, ...
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38 votes
5 answers
7k views

Is it unethical for nursing school assignments to require students private medical information?

The curriculum for the nursing program at my university regularly requires the student to write a detailed account of their HIPAA-protected medical information. The assignments usually require posting ...
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15 votes
4 answers
4k views

How can you handle your professor not doing his job (as a postdoc)?

For the past two years, I have been working as a postdoc under a new German professor with what I consider to be an atrocious work ethic: His presence on campus is limited only to when in-person ...
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  • 359
1 vote
1 answer
168 views

Authorship order changed after resubmitting to another journal?

The work is a collaboration between my home university and another research group. We first submitted the work to a pretty good journal where I was the second author. But the publisher recommended we ...
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32 votes
9 answers
7k views

Lecturer Copied Textbook Questions for Open Book Exam - I Used the Answers

Yesterday, before my exam, I went through as many practice questions as possible, and incorporated anything I missed into my notes - this included cases not taught in the textbook or lectures. I am a ...
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0 votes
1 answer
187 views

Is it okay to say that I have a paper under review when applying/talking to potential supervisors?

As I am applying/talking to potential supervisors is it appropriate to mention (but not elaborate) that I have a paper under review at a specific conference? Or would this be a potential breach of ...
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2 votes
1 answer
182 views

How can I ask the professor if I could still work with them on the proposal?

I received two Ph.D. offers this year. The offer from A came too late, which was later than the deadline for the decision of offer from B. Thus, I decided to take the offer from B. Although I have ...
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0 votes
1 answer
147 views

Working in a research company that studies the same research problem as my startup [closed]

I am almost in the final step of joining a big research company. This company has a huge amount of data for research problem X, and their research team is always digging into it. I just want to ...
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  • 377
34 votes
5 answers
8k views

What are the ethics involved in teaching my chair's child in my undergrad class?

I'm a faculty member, and my department chair's son is enrolled in a course I'm teaching. Actually, this happened twice during the past academic year and is slated to happen again this fall. I'm ...
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2 votes
1 answer
184 views

When Criticism gets personal? [closed]

I would like to know when critics start to be personal? There are lots of these "Don't take it too much personally" stories, but what is the other side? Of course, constructive criticism is ...
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48 votes
12 answers
14k views

PhD student pressured to fabricate data due to bad experiment design

Summary: It took me 3 years to analyze data from one sample (n=1) whereas correct way to perform experiment would be with n>=3. Now my job and funding are in question, since I don't have more time. ...
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18 votes
4 answers
6k views

Did my professor act unethically by publishing a paper with a figure from my thesis without any acknowledgement?

Title says it all, but for specifics.. Just found out my thesis advisor published a paper last year using a figure from my thesis. The thesis is in embargo until later this year. I do have be honest ...
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  • 189
1 vote
1 answer
163 views

Is it ethical for lecturers to give marks based on another criteria other than the one they prescribed?

Is it ethical for a lecturer to give all students in their class full marks for a module when they have not assessed the quality of the assessments? In one class, students were told they would be ...
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14 votes
6 answers
8k views

Is it ethical to privately thank authors when you discover they’ve cited your work?

Is it ethical to privately thank authors when you discover they’ve cited your work? Can it be looked upon like you’re trying to gain future favour? Or like the citation itself was for any reason other ...
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4 votes
1 answer
211 views

Submitting two articles to the same journal at the same time similar ideas but different surgeries?

I am part of two different labs that are studying very similar things. One is the impact of smoking on elbow or shoulder replacement, and the other is the impact of smoking on wrist replacement. They ...
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-2 votes
2 answers
963 views

A jerk is becoming a professor, should I alert their faculty?

During the early stage of my research career many years ago, as a graduate student, I met this young and bright but yet very manipulative PhD student. Let's call the person A. At the beginning A was ...
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26 votes
4 answers
7k views

Is it ethical to ask to see a letter of recommendation if the recommender is dead?

My former PI (and role model and one of the most incredible people I know) wrote me a letter of recommendation for a scholarship before she passed away. I know her secretary was the one who submitted ...
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  • 391
27 votes
4 answers
8k views

Is it plagiarism if someone attends your talk and then writes a paper about your ideas?

6 months ago I presented a talk describing some research I had been doing and presenting some half finished results. Ive since discovered that one of the attendees took my idea from the talk and ...
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  • 271
23 votes
3 answers
6k views

How to protect ourselves from predatory reviewers?

When authors submit paper to a journal, the paper will go through the peer review process. When a reviewer accepts to review a paper, the reviewer is then given the power to delay the publication of ...
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  • 331
2 votes
1 answer
180 views

It there a non-academic job that reviews conference or journal submissions?

I am a research student at the moment, but it has occurred to me that it could potentially be profitable to be a "pre-reviewer". I will explain what I mean. A pre-reviewer is not an academic ...
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10 votes
7 answers
4k views

Is authorship justified for performing an experiment 7 years ago, which is published? We just used samples from that experiment for a new analysis

7 years ago, a mouse experiment was performed, and samples are still available for further analysis. This mouse experiment is already published with a certain readout. Now, we publish a whole ...
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  • 101
-2 votes
1 answer
169 views

If previously submitted and marked paper is plagiarised by others, is it collusion? [closed]

Assuming a student wrote a paper on their own and submitted it to turnitin. AFTER they graduated, if their paper is accessed (with consent) by an undergraduate student who is studying a same course ...
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  • 1
1 vote
0 answers
154 views

Problems with my boss in academia: who to ask for some advice in Austria?

I have some problems with my boss at a university. The problem does not only include cooperative aspects. It also involves some problems related to a post-doc project that I developed and that I gave ...
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1 vote
0 answers
119 views

Improving ethics in Theoretical Physics - looking for an association [closed]

I am a postdoc doing Theoretical Physics in Europe, and I would like to know what a person at this stage in his/her career can do to actively promote ethical standards in its community. Precisely, is ...
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38 votes
18 answers
9k views

Is it ethical to assign problem sets and not tell students which subset of problems will be graded?

It is common practice to have a homework strategy as follows: a professor might assign N homework problems but only have some random sub-set of those problems graded. This is motivated by a large ...
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