Stack Exchange Network

Stack Exchange network consists of 175 Q&A communities including Stack Overflow, the largest, most trusted online community for developers to learn, share their knowledge, and build their careers.

Visit Stack Exchange

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.

57
votes
6answers
29k views

Is it acceptable to write a reference letter for yourself?

If a student needs a reference letter for graduate admissions or that sort of thing, some profs will ask the student to write a reference letter for themself before sending it off to the prof for ...
110
votes
6answers
10k views

Asked again to review a paper, when the authors don't wish to modify it

I have received a manuscript to review for a journal. The interesting thing is, I had already reviewed this article (exact same title, abstract and author list, almost exact same content) for another ...
118
votes
17answers
104k views

Is it okay to report classmates cheating on exams?

Is it acceptable or ok to report on students cheating? Many times during a test or an exam, I have seen students in front of me either passing notes, or otherwise collaborating whenever the professor ...
93
votes
18answers
230k views

I was caught cheating on an exam, how can I minimize the damage?

I got caught cheating in a two-hour engineering exam consisting of 100 multiple choice questions which was done online through the moodle e-learning software. I feel like my life is almost over. ...
130
votes
15answers
20k views

Is it ethical to profit by having my students buy my textbook?

This question was suggested to me by How can I sell my text book to my students in e-book format? which asked about the practicalities, but attracted many comments about the ethics. So this question ...
46
votes
5answers
5k views

Will self-citation be viewed as self-promotion in academia?

As we know, citation counts are important to judge one's research activity. Is it good to cite one's previous works? Will it be viewed as an act of advertisement or self-promotion?
43
votes
6answers
13k views

Is it ethical to withdraw a paper after acceptance in order to resubmit to a better journal?

I think the title asks the question, but once again in more words: Suppose you submit a paper to a journal and it is accepted by the journal. By this I mean that the journal tells you that they have ...
33
votes
7answers
6k views

Is it common to claim co-authorship by helping writing a paper without doing any research

In my research group, there is a researcher who usually approaches other PhD students who are about to write papers in order to offer his help. Normally, he does not actually do any research related ...
132
votes
3answers
13k views

What to do if a referee plagiarises the result after rejecting a paper?

I find myself in an awkward situation. Nearly two years ago I submitted a paper to a reputable mathematics journal. After 15 months it was rejected with the rationale that there had been papers ...
117
votes
13answers
28k views

Is it ethical/acceptable to give a lighter penalty to students who admit to cheating?

I am at the moment dealing with an academic dishonesty incident in a class I'm teaching (a few groups of students submitting identical code, when the class policy forbids getting help from another ...
73
votes
4answers
16k views

My advisor submitted a paper with my work without including me as an author

As you might see from my history I don't have a good relationship with my advisor. Recently we wrote a journal paper together based on my thesis. I wrote the introduction, analysis and the description ...
105
votes
13answers
19k views

Is it ethical for a professor to get masters students to work on open source modules related to the professor's profit-making company?

My professor of Computer Science has a company (both based in Germany) that promotes an open-source software. Of course the software is free and open-source, but his company generates profits through ...
40
votes
8answers
4k views

Is it ethical to apply different criteria for graduate admissions based on country of undergraduate study?

We have undertaken a small statistical study of M.S. students in our department, including their application information and their eventual performance in our program. The goal is to develop criteria ...
37
votes
6answers
5k views

Is it ethical to obtain journal articles from places other than the publisher's official sites?

When I am at home and looking for journal articles I often find article PDFs through google that have been uploaded to various websites (e.g., universities, institutions, arbitrary websites, etc...). ...
55
votes
4answers
24k views

Should I waive my right to view my recommendation letters?

Most graduate applications provide a choice for applicants to view their recommendation letters at a later date. There is a mention of some US mandate alongside. Is it a better option to forgo this ...
38
votes
4answers
1k views

Is it reasonable to collaborate with a professor when you are employed by a different professor?

How wise is it to collaborate with another professor while working as a staff under one professor? Is there a ethical conflict in doing so even if the other professor is from a slightly different area?...
123
votes
4answers
36k views

Rediscovery of calculus in 1994: what should have happened to that paper?

There's a well-known paper in academic circles that features a rediscovery of the trapezoidal rule for numerical integration by a medical researcher: “A Mathematical Model for the Determination of ...
11
votes
2answers
5k views

How/when to become independent in research as a graduate student?

I am in the last months of my MSc and I have done my thesis. I have published some conference papers but most of them were literature reviews. My MSc thesis is about solving wave equations by means ...
35
votes
6answers
5k views

If an author declines authorship, may her co-authors publish without her?

This question was raised in discussion of answers on Is it better to submit a paper to an important journal without the supervisor name or to a less important journal with the supervisor name? There ...
34
votes
8answers
35k views

Is it ethical to accept small gifts from students?

Is it ethical to accept small gifts from students? In past years I have one or two students have given me small gifts, generally a box of chocolates. I judge the size of gifts on my internatinal beer ...
48
votes
5answers
3k views

Is it unethical to accept extra time on exams when I still do well?

I have ADHD (real, diagnosed ADHD, not just "I-say-I-have-ADHD-because-it's-trendy" ADHD). I have never taken the extended time exams that are offered for ADHD students, because I have never needed to,...
28
votes
4answers
3k views

What should I do when images in a publication appear to have been faked?

I just came across a paper published in a journal (IF < 2), which has used a couple of images without mentioning the source. This itself is not necessarily a problem. But they seem to be from a ...
23
votes
6answers
6k views

Worry about stealing of research ideas

I have gotten an idea in the field of Computer Science that it can result in a research paper. The problem is that I lack the adequate background in one part needed for this research, mostly ...
58
votes
2answers
11k views

How to acknowledge a deceased advisor’s contributions to a paper?

One of my advisors suddenly passed away while I was in graduate school. We had some discussions and ideas about future publications, but he passed away before any of the work was completed. When the ...
19
votes
4answers
2k views

In single-blind peer-review, can you reveal your identity without the editor's consent?

In my field (chemistry), review is always done in a single blind process, i.e. the author does not know who the referees were, but the referees do know who the authors are. In ten years, I have never ...
13
votes
3answers
710 views

Compiling ethical standards for coauthorship across academic fields and regions

One of the hot-button issues on this site is standards for coauthorship, especially variants of the question "Must I automatically include my thesis advisor as a coauthor on all my papers?" Since ...
20
votes
5answers
728 views

How tightly enforced are open-access embargoes?

Many academic journals have copyright policies which forbid authors (possibly for a finite embargo time) to make their papers (either preprints, accepted manuscripts, or camera-ready versions) freely ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the difference between plagiarism and copyright infringement?

In this several times up-voted answer, it is suggested, among other things, that 'if someone using an image [...] that they do not own (it) is inappropriate and should be first reported to the PI of ...
153
votes
4answers
29k views

Is Obama's JAMA paper OK?

As some of you may have heard, Barack Obama recently published a paper in JAMA describing the US health care reforms (link). First of all, I am not trying to start a discussion on the validity of the ...
49
votes
8answers
4k views

Why don't all disciplines follow a double-blind review system?

I'm new to the journal publishing world, and I can't but help wonder why the review process isn't completely blind? By blind, I mean the reviewers don't know who performed the research or (more ...
31
votes
9answers
26k views

Is it ethical to use past years' final exams that the professor hasn't explicitly given, to study for a final in the same class?

This happened to me in my 2nd year of grad school, in a STEM field. As many do, our professor gave the class the last year's final, to give us an idea of what areas to study and what to expect, etc, ...
22
votes
4answers
5k views

Mentor trying to be first author?

I was on an internship with professor A at University B in China. We were working on a computer science project. During the internship I implemented professor A's idea and got some results. Three ...
17
votes
1answer
2k views

What should I do if my advisor insists on being first author, in violation of my field's conventions?

My advisor obligate me to put her name first author name in my publication. What are the possible pros and cons of this order? What should I do if my advisor insists on being first author, in ...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

How to respond to allegations of misconduct in authorship dispute?

I was working on a problem in the field engineering. I have used one approach and it turned out that it does not work well. After that I got into conflict with my supervisor, and realized that it will ...
14
votes
3answers
2k views

When you reference an article, is it always expected that you have actually read it?

Naturally I would say "of course", but my current situation makes me doubt. In my paper I'm briefly covering various alternative cryptographic constructions. I am (of course) familiar with all of ...
321
votes
12answers
47k views

I don't want to kill any more mice, but my advisor insists that I must in order to get my PhD

When my supervisor pitched the PhD to me, it was all about analyzing "big data". I had BSc/MSc experience in wet-lab biology (mainly culturing cells), however I wanted to branch out into ...
138
votes
6answers
19k views

My professor is rigging data and plagiarizing. What can I do?

My department head is manipulating data in his research papers and skillfully alters plagiarized text to avoid detection. I found this out while working with him on a journal article. I politely ...
75
votes
3answers
4k views

A manuscript I refereed gave me an idea for a paper, not sure how to proceed

So, last week I refereed a paper for a journal. The paper in question is a reply to a previous paper by a different author: it points out a serious problem in the original paper and then proposes a ...
74
votes
6answers
22k views

My first authorship is being turned into co-first authorship, what can I do?

I am currently submitting a paper for Nature Structural & Molecular Biology. I worked on this project for the last four years and was the only one working on this project. I had everything going ...
62
votes
4answers
9k views

During review, I found a superior solution. What now?

I received a journal paper for a review. The paper suggests a solution to an important problem, but the solution is very complicated and has mediocre performance. While reading the paper, I thought of ...
56
votes
11answers
15k views

What to do if assignment is against student's religion?

What is the proper course of action if while teaching an undergraduate or even secondary school course an assignment violates the religious beliefs of a student? For a more concrete example of where ...
38
votes
6answers
11k views

Who is responsible for detecting plagiarism in a PhD thesis?

Background I am asking this question in the context of the long running plagiarism scandal in Germany.The most prominent victim of the scandal of plagiarized doctoral dissertations by politicians was ...
37
votes
6answers
2k views

Does gold open-access with article processing charge (APC) really help access to science and save taxpayer money?

I value the reputation of the journals to which I submit articles. Mostly, I wish to confront my work with the most competent researchers in my field through peer review, in order to have an expert ...
52
votes
11answers
10k views

Are there universities that consider it academic misconduct for students to publish material created by faculty?

Please read the bold text before answering. A colleague has shown me that one of his students has posted exam questions with answers , and prior assignments with answers to a commercial web site ...
36
votes
4answers
2k views

Can authors from certain origins really not know about the gravity of plagiarism?

With respect to some cultures, in particular Asian ones, one often hears statements such as the following: In this country, copying is regarded as flattery and thus people do not know the evils of ...
29
votes
9answers
16k views

Is reusing old code for a new assignment considered self plagiarism? How to protect yourself if you consider it to be, and a group partner does not?

I am taking a graduate machine learning course and am working with another student in the class on a final project. In his undergraduate studies, the other student wrote code that accomplished a ...
30
votes
6answers
9k views

Would it be ethical for a computer science PhD student to hire an assistant (programmer)?

I was wondering if it would be ethical for a PhD student in the field of Computer Science to hire a programmer in an specific domain; so that he could focus more on the algorithmic or mathematical ...
43
votes
5answers
12k views

Is it legal (USA) and ethical to use international edition textbooks? When I pay for a textbook, where does the money go?

Background: I am a student. I didn't have anything in life for four years, and I worked myself silly at times for it. So now I ask - when I pay hundreds of dollars over the production cost (new ...
35
votes
5answers
3k views

Is there any research on the prevalence of academic theft?

Some ­— perhaps many — academics seem to be very careful in keeping unpublished work secret. It is not difficult to find anecdotes where academic ideas are stolen, such as in this post by @Markus. ...
34
votes
7answers
4k views

Is it appropriate to ask colleagues opinions when reviewing a paper?

Several times my supervisor has asked me for my opinion on papers he is reviewing. I find this helpful as it encourages me to read things I otherwise would not, helps me understand how to review ...