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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77
votes
14answers
28k views

Is it appropriate to request that the department hire a female faculty member?

Our department is currently hiring a new faculty member. At the moment, the faculty gender ratio in our department is very skewed, even for our field. I believe that this has a negative impact on the ...
77
votes
12answers
13k views

Is it ethical to buy noise canceling headphones with research funds?

Noise canceling headphones are quite expensive (up to 300 USD) compared to normal headphones, but can boost productivity by creating a sound isolation in noisy environments. Would it be ethically ...
76
votes
6answers
19k views

Is it ethical to use a recommendation letter from a deceased professor?

She was a really nice professor and she wrote me a good recommendation letter that resulted in a lot of good results with applications. Recently, this professor died from brain cancer, which was a ...
75
votes
7answers
9k views

Is it okay for a reviewer to share an under review manuscript with their colleagues?

In a research meeting I mentioned I was doing some peer-review for a conference and disclosed the general topic it was about, without any further details. Immediately my colleagues demanded I disclose ...
75
votes
5answers
33k views

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 ...
75
votes
4answers
17k 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 ...
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
10answers
11k views

Is it ethical to limit marks based upon past performance?

A professor has a habit of starting oral examinations by asking for or looking up grade averages and grades from other subjects and then taking them heavily into account when evaluating the student in ...
74
votes
8answers
15k views

I proved a theorem I heard from another researcher. Can I publish my results?

Some time ago I heard a talk in which the speaker mentioned some theorem. I needed this theorem for another paper I wrote. I looked for this theorem in the relevant literature (which I know quite well)...
74
votes
3answers
11k views

Rampant sharing of authorship among colleagues in the name of “collaboration”. Is not taking part in it a death knell for a future in academia?

I am a final year PhD student in chemical engineering. Since the start of my PhD, I was clear on one personal philosophy. I will put my name only on those papers where I have made substantial ...
73
votes
7answers
10k views

Is uncredited use of grad students' unpublished research by professors accepted/common practice in academia?

I'm a master's student, and over the course of my studies I've conducted a few independent studies in which I investigate specific research questions that I formulate on my own. Those independent ...
73
votes
6answers
11k views

Co-authoring a paper with a persona non grata

Suppose Researcher A did some joint work with Researcher B. While the work was still in progress, or the manuscript was in preparation, researcher B became persona non grata in Academia, due to ...
72
votes
11answers
25k views

Is it ethical to tell my teaching assistant that I like him?

I, a twenty-year-old female, have come to admire the graduate teaching assistant for my summer course quite strongly. I'm extremely interested in what he has to say, I always pay attention, never use ...
72
votes
4answers
12k views

Advisor drops MSci student suddenly in final semester

Today I had a fellow student (who is working on a master's degree) come to me and inform me that our mutual advisor (call her Professor WW) had just dropped her as a student for "personal reasons." I ...
71
votes
7answers
30k views

Dating former student?

Here's the situation: She was an undergrad, I was a grad TA. At that point, our interactions were totally professional and limited to the classroom. However, she and I both since graduated and left ...
71
votes
11answers
16k views

I used a solution that I happened to already have on my laptop on an exam. Did I cheat?

In a programming in-class test, one of the problems was to write up a certain famous program in Maple. However, I had already written up this program prior to the test just as a hobby, and it was in a ...
71
votes
4answers
9k views

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 [...
70
votes
10answers
15k views

Is it appropriate for an undergrad student to ask a professor to sign a non-disclosure agreement?

Allow me to first give some context. A friend and I have been discussing a business idea involving a technical device that I need some guidance on how to perfect. My friend just told me he is taking ...
70
votes
6answers
8k views

Is it common practice to remove an author's name from a paper?

I work as an instructor at a university. I am not a graduate student there and my responsibilities end at teaching. Recently, a supervisor from another department asked me to prepare an article for ...
70
votes
6answers
19k views

Realized a co-author inserted plagiarism into our paper 8 years ago - what to do now?

Recently, after the acceptance of a paper, the journal said some sentences were exactly copied in my manuscript. I was shocked as I was the first author. Later, we found that during the preparation of ...
69
votes
7answers
7k views

Should a paper be reviewed in entirety, if the introduction contains plagiarized passages?

I'm very new to being a peer reviewer. I agreed to anonymously review a paper for publication, and while reading it for the first time, I was a little annoyed by the writing style. It sort of reminded ...
67
votes
10answers
35k views

GPA rounding 2.498 to 2.5. How ethical is this? [duplicate]

I finished this year with a cumulative GPA of 2.498 (pretty low, not gonna lie). The main concern that I have is that when rounding to 2 digits, it will be pushed to a 2.5, and I'm worried that in ...
66
votes
10answers
23k views

What to do with someone that cheated their way through university and a PhD program?

A person I know cheated through most of their science classes while an undergrad. They literally had someone else take the exams, write reports, and do most of the homework. They then took their ...
66
votes
8answers
9k views

Can online recording of work area at home be made a mandatory criterion for passing exams midway through a course?

Right now with the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada I believe most Ontario universities and colleges have their classes online, and my university decided to do that as well. With this in mind, many of our ...
65
votes
5answers
14k views

Students using the same flawed online solution sheet as the grading TA

I am in a small electricity and magnetism class, and I have recently become aware of other students using an online solution sheet (on slader.com). On the most recent homework, I (who didn't use the ...
65
votes
5answers
6k views

Consequences I should expect of violence in my classroom

I'm asking what to expect after violence in my classroom, will I be fired, expelled? What is the procedure? Hopefully this is the correct stack exchange for this, if not feel free to tell me where ...
64
votes
8answers
27k views

An undergraduate said they may hire a freelancer to do their work for them. What should I do?

I, a graduate student, have started tutoring undergraduates in computer science at my university to help make ends meet. One student who inquired about my services turned me down upon hearing my rates ...
64
votes
7answers
11k views

Is it normal/ethical for student grades to be assigned according to quotas?

In my undergraduate Physics courses, I have heard from my Professor last semester that he got in trouble from the physics department for passing too many students. This semester, the TA in the lab ...
64
votes
4answers
13k views

Colleague stole my work and is publishing it as his own; my PhD supervisor supports him; I got the paper to review. How to proceed?

By chance, I am reviewing now the paper which I recognised as a paper of my colleague. We are from the same institution and I am surprised that I got this paper to review, but, on the other hand, I am ...
64
votes
7answers
37k 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 ...
63
votes
6answers
8k views

How should I communicate that I do not hold the views expressed in a paper I wrote

I am writing a paper for a class that requires me to write from a perspective I disagree with. To an external observer it may not be clear that I am not allowed to disagree with the premise of the ...
63
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 ...
62
votes
13answers
26k views

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 ...
61
votes
18answers
19k views

How to respond to a professor who was insulted by an email detailing mistakes in the exercise? [closed]

I am an undergraduate student. Preparing the solution to an exercise regarding computer assembly language programming I discovered an error in the program skeleton that was given to us to base our ...
61
votes
11answers
28k views

Dismissed from PhD due to disability-related misconduct: how to answer question about dismissal?

I committed plagiarism at the end of my PhD. My psychiatrist found that the plagiarism is related to a psychiatric disorder (mental health problem). I have published many papers in top journals and ...
61
votes
8answers
20k views

Is it immoral to show new students how to use Wolfram Alpha?

Currently, I'm working as an assistant at the mathematics department of my university. My job consists of sitting for 20 hours a week in an office to which students come with doubts regarding all the ...
61
votes
7answers
12k views

Is it bad practice to study or reference the work of an academic who has fallen from grace?

I was recently reading a textbook, written by a professor from an elite university, which I was finding to be very informative and well-written. Excited to learn of other works or talks by this ...
61
votes
11answers
11k views

My advisor demands second authorship, but my collaborator contributed much more than him. I don't want to be unethical, what should I do?

My PhD supervisor has contributed 0% to my research and he even does not know the basics of my research. On the other hand, I have a collaborator from another university who has contributed ...
61
votes
2answers
15k 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 ...
60
votes
12answers
13k views

What are the legal and ethical implications of “padding” pay with extra hours to compensate for unpaid work?

I have come into a strange position and could greatly use some advice on how I should proceed. I am an undergraduate student at an American university in a computer engineering program. For the last ...
59
votes
8answers
10k views

If you're black, how do you answer “Oh you're a professor? So you teach African Studies?”

In a comment to How do you answer "Oh, you're a professor? What do you teach?", @JohnSmith wrote I'm black so it generally goes "Oh you're a professor? So you teach African Studies?...
59
votes
3answers
11k views

Writing a letter of recommendation for a faculty colleague I cannot highly recommend

A colleague of mine has asked that I write him a letter of recommendation (LOR). I will call him Steve. He recently was denied tenure and is looking for a new position at several other universities. ...
58
votes
8answers
12k views

How to by-pass bioethics for a trivial bio-experiment?

I am from Computer Science (CS) doing microscopy imaging applications, mainly in software side. Recently we submitted a paper to Scientific Reports on a new algorithm. My own human blood cells (a ...
57
votes
4answers
6k views

What to do when a good article is published in a predatory online journal that disappears?

European International Journal of Science and Humanities (EIJSH) published my article about 2 years ago. The publication was online. The problem is that I haven't been able to access the EIJSH website ...
56
votes
11answers
16k 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 ...
56
votes
10answers
8k views

Can I learn the course material for the first time while I'm teaching it?

If I'm going to give students the course X in next semester. Should I have full understanding of the subject before I teach them or can I learn about the topics before I go to the class and then teach ...
56
votes
4answers
28k 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 ...
56
votes
5answers
15k views

Teacher takes pictures of students during exams and posts them on social media

There's this teacher who takes pictures of his students during exams, and posts them on social media, with the knowledge of the students. A lot of people enjoy these pictures (including the students), ...
56
votes
6answers
7k views

Can two PhD students publish without involving their supervisors?

I am a theoretical computer science PhD student. My childhood friend (my present roommate) is in the 3rd year of his pure mathematics PhD program. Very recently we both worked on a problem on ...
56
votes
3answers
4k views

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 ...

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