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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71 votes
7 answers

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 ...
hesson's user avatar
  • 1,002
128 votes
19 answers

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. ...
user avatar
130 votes
7 answers

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 ...
F'x's user avatar
  • 72.6k
128 votes
17 answers

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 ...
yuritsuki's user avatar
  • 1,536
53 votes
8 answers

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 ...
James's user avatar
  • 4,603
197 votes
4 answers

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 ...
F'x's user avatar
  • 72.6k
64 votes
2 answers

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 ...
ESultanik's user avatar
  • 1,468
76 votes
4 answers

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 ...
james234's user avatar
  • 2,288
133 votes
16 answers

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 is ...
Nate Eldredge's user avatar
44 votes
6 answers

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 ...
Pete L. Clark's user avatar
127 votes
13 answers

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 ...
ff524's user avatar
  • 109k
61 votes
4 answers

How to discourage irrelevant self-citation?

I once reviewed a manuscript whose authors cited many of their own published papers, which were not relevant to the subject of the manuscript. This kind of practice is evidently frowned upon by the ...
adipro's user avatar
  • 8,401
59 votes
4 answers

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 ...
Bravo's user avatar
  • 22.8k
49 votes
5 answers

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?
ShadowWarrior's user avatar
37 votes
8 answers

Is it ethical to accept small gifts from students? And how small is small?

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 international beer ...
StrongBad's user avatar
  • 104k
35 votes
7 answers

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 ...
user12635's user avatar
  • 3,357
26 votes
6 answers

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 ...
Layla's user avatar
  • 8,735
6 votes
2 answers

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 ...
Cape Code's user avatar
  • 27k
150 votes
5 answers

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 ...
jp26's user avatar
  • 1,603
107 votes
14 answers

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 ...
Jack Twain's user avatar
  • 4,002
77 votes
4 answers

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 ...
Erel Segal-Halevi's user avatar
40 votes
8 answers

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 ...
ff524's user avatar
  • 109k
38 votes
4 answers

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?...
Stat-R's user avatar
  • 2,615
38 votes
6 answers

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 ...
Nate Eldredge's user avatar
37 votes
6 answers

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...). ...
R. AS.'s user avatar
  • 703
34 votes
7 answers

Publons - is it a serious thing?

Recently several different, unrelated publishers suggested on their websites to join Publons, which is meant to acknowledge referees for peer-reviewing submitted manuscripts. Publons even suggests to ...
AliceD's user avatar
  • 1,921
28 votes
6 answers

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 ...
F'x's user avatar
  • 72.6k
4 votes
1 answer

What would be the possible consequence of concealing an incomplete degree?

I attended a 2y MSc mixed mode (Coursework+Thesis) program which is incomplete as of today. I have completed two semesters and still 2 more semesters to go. I have dropped 3rd semester and never ...
user avatar
147 votes
11 answers

Is it ethical to submit a paper with the name of a co-author who cannot be contacted?

The paper in question is based on research my collaborator X and I did together some months ago. Our respective contributions to the research were around 2/3 for X and 1/3 for me. In terms of the ...
Senex's user avatar
  • 3,724
90 votes
8 answers

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 ...
user146290's user avatar
28 votes
4 answers

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 ...
Devashish Das's user avatar
25 votes
4 answers

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 ...
CherryQu's user avatar
  • 1,525
22 votes
5 answers

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 ...
E.P.'s user avatar
  • 6,805
13 votes
3 answers

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 ...
12 votes
2 answers

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 ...
enthu's user avatar
  • 7,488
338 votes
12 answers

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 ...
Wetlab Walter's user avatar
155 votes
4 answers

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 ...
Marc Claesen's user avatar
  • 8,375
149 votes
6 answers

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

I am a graduate student. 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 ...
atree's user avatar
  • 1,363
88 votes
8 answers

Citing paywalled articles accessed via illegal web sharing

There are a few sites which offer paid articles for free. It’s something unethical, especially for those who upload to that site, but for me, it’s good for expanding knowledge. As a readers, can we ...
Syafiq Zaidi's user avatar
76 votes
4 answers

Should I do anything if I am cited for something that wasn't in my paper?

I’ve just read a paper in which a previous paper of mine has been cited. The line in which the citation happens is something like: It has been shown that technique X is successful in this problem [...
Michael Stachowsky's user avatar
76 votes
3 answers

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 ...
Koldito's user avatar
  • 8,958
75 votes
5 answers

Can I legally omit the fact I hold a Ph.D. degree?

I am about to complete a Ph.D. in Hong Kong and would like to study in the United States. I hold a first class B.Eng. degree in Electrical Engineering. I have a CGPA of 3.67 out of 4 in my current PhD ...
BoltzBooz's user avatar
  • 1,093
67 votes
13 answers

Other students can easily cheat on a test and the grading system is relative - should I cheat, and what else can I do?

Amid the pandemic, a test that has traditionally been in-class is now planned to be held as follows: The examiner starts a Zoom conference. The students join the conference from their homes, turning ...
Mitsuko's user avatar
  • 2,762
58 votes
7 answers

Can a professor ask for money directly from students to print out handouts for class?

I'm currently taking a class that doesn't have a required textbook, which is why I took it. My professor is now saying that due to her scanning and printing out handouts for use we are each required ...
legallyk's user avatar
  • 551
56 votes
6 answers

If someone conducts unethical research unbeknownst to anybody, but produces positive results, what would happen to the research once discovered?

I was just wondering about this specific scenario. Say someone was researching nature vs. nurture, but his experiments involved keeping babies in a controlled environment for the first 10 years of ...
Zaenille's user avatar
  • 1,243
56 votes
5 answers

Should an Editor in Chief publish in their own journal?

An Editor in Chief of a journal ought to be proud of their journal and consider it a good place to publish their own work, so not publishing in the journal that they edit suggests a lack of confidence ...
Dikran Marsupial's user avatar
50 votes
5 answers

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,...
patterson's user avatar
  • 501
49 votes
4 answers

Inappropriate reference requests from Journal reviewers

A journal article I submitted to a highly reputable journal has been returned with a number of revisions requested, most of which are useful and helpful and will improve the quality of the article. ...
doctorer's user avatar
  • 973
44 votes
5 answers

Is it ethical to give (paid) private tutorials for a student in a module I am TA'ing?

My TAing mostly involves helping students working on their programming assignments during classes. A student asked me to give him private, paid, tutorials for the module, being concerned that all '...
Three Diag's user avatar
  • 4,029
37 votes
7 answers

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 ...
nivag's user avatar
  • 3,562

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