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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56
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4answers
8k views

Hugely important database replete with errors

I am about to finish my PhD in bioinformatics. I am trying not to give out too many details, so I won't be very specific. In the field I am working in, there are two extremely important databases ...
55
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13answers
8k views

Should I inform students that there are cheaper alternatives to the on-campus book store?

The bookstore at my American university is an outpost of Barnes and Noble, charges much higher prices than can be found on Amazon, and in my opinion offers very poor service. Among other things that ...
55
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6answers
11k views

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 ...
54
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5answers
13k views

Co-authors request that others do not use “he” as a pronoun - is this reasonable?

We are a bunch of people writing a collection of papers. Two of the writers are from Iran (where the common language does not have gendered pronouns), and they have expressed to me some concern with ...
54
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10answers
16k views

I did something I am not proud of, and was rightly accused of cheating by the instructor. What is next for me?

A throwaway account for this issue I need advice in. I am in an engineering course and had an online exam (thanks to COVID-19) with no form of protection for cheating, just an "open now, turn in ...
54
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8answers
10k views

Is it unethical/unscientific to omit outlier data in a publication when they are in FAVOR of your argument?

I have a scatter(log-)plot with some 10,000 data points that plots the running time of some algorithm against the input on random instances of some problem. I have a lot of these plots, and due to ...
54
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5answers
17k views

Does having an article retracted due to professor's ethical misconduct mean my career is over?

When I was in my first year of M.Sc. a professor told me to work on a project for which the main data belonged to him. He had sent me an early draft and told me to translate it into English, so I did ...
54
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8answers
9k views

How to handle plagiarism on method that does not affect outcome results when reviewing a paper?

I was reviewing a paper related to my field (computational fluid dynamics) a while ago and, while reading a part of the methodology section where the numerical scheme and the equations were explained, ...
54
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5answers
16k views

Are relationships allowed between students and faculty?

What sorts of restrictions do universities place on romantic or sexual relationships between faculty and graduate students, and what are the underlying issues that motivate these restrictions? For ...
53
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7answers
13k views

I grade exams together with a colleague but disagree with their grading. What should I do?

Recently, I have graded exams (50 pcs.) together with a colleague from another department. I felt like my colleague was awarding too many points for wrong/incomplete answers. For example, awarding ...
53
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7answers
11k views

Should I continue reviewing a paper after having discovered plagiarised content in it?

I received an invitation to review for the International Journal of Adaptive Control and Signal Processing. I started to analyze the manuscript by reading the title, abstract, introduction, results ...
53
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8answers
12k views

I solved their problem. Should I involve them?

I have dedicated time and effort to solve a theoretical problem posed by two other people. Now I think I have resolved it, and I have material for a publication. Should I involve them as co-authors? ...
53
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8answers
6k views

Ethics of Accepting Unneeded Merit Based Scholarships

I come from a fairly wealthy background, and am lucky enough to have parents who are both footing the bill for my tuition, as well as providing a very comfortable living stipend while I'm in school. ...
52
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12answers
16k views

Should I give professor gift at the beginning of my PhD?

I will be in a PhD program in Germany in which the first year of the program consists of only studying courses under several different professors. Some people suggested me that I should give gift to ...
52
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7answers
13k views

I know that there is a preselected candidate for a position to be filled at my department. What should I do?

There is a rather attractive position to be filled at my department. The heads of department are already quite sure about who should fill this position. Jobs being filled with preselected candidates ...
52
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8answers
5k 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 ...
52
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11answers
11k 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 ...
51
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10answers
12k views

Is paying someone to fix LaTeX issues in one's thesis ethical?

For my bachelor thesis in theoretical CS I paid someone to fix some weird LaTeX issues I had make some figures in LaTeX for which I provided exact (!) hand-drawn pictures adjust the document class/...
51
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8answers
7k views

Is it ethical for a lecturer to require students to purchase an online learning kit where kit is used for course assessments?

I am taking a course in a may-not-be-top-but-still-decent university located in North America. The course lecturer forces us to pay for an online learning kit from Pearson by adopting all the graded ...
51
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8answers
8k views

How to deal with systematic rigging of academic position job postings?

In a discussion with some of my close friends in other academic institutes, we noticed the common experience* in which it seems that well over 80% of the advertised job postings for permanent or ...
50
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21answers
12k views

Am I required to hand out private encryption key to head of institute?

I am a PhD student at a German university. Motivated by a longer absence of a (technical) coworker due to illness, the accessibility of data of the members of my institute has been discussed for such ...
50
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10answers
10k views

Renting a house to a graduate student in my department

I am a professor at a US university, and I'll be away on a sabbatical for all of the coming academic year. I would like to sublet my house while I am away, and I think that one or two of the graduate ...
49
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5answers
4k 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,...
48
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9answers
44k views

As a male student, did I say something wrong to this female professor?

A professor and I spoke recently (I'm a grad student), and she told me about her upcoming sabbatical, and I wished her well and was genuinely excited for her and her travel plans. But the reaction ...
48
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9answers
13k views

Is it ethical to refuse enrollment of a previously dishonest student if you are the sole instructor for a required course?

I am currently teaching an upper level course, and have caught a student plagiarizing this semester. This course is required by our department for a degree. I have strict policy on my syllabus that ...
48
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7answers
10k views

Is it ethical to “arm-twist” a faculty-member into passing more students or improving the class average?

I recently got "arm-twisted" [2] (by the department chair and the dean of faculty) into passing the whole (undergrad Math) class who appeared for the final (minus that one student who we all knew was ...
48
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7answers
10k views

What are the ethical considerations when publishing a cheating technique?

Suppose I have devised a way to cheat at cards, exams or any other situation in which secret communication with other people or machines provides unfair advantage. The method is novel and uses ...
47
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15answers
22k views

How to professionally handle sexist remarks by a student?

Suppose that you noticed a student saying a sexist remark to you, and the student is completely unaware of it. In the spirit of fighting sexism, I feel that I should maybe say something. But on the ...
47
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7answers
8k views

Referee made a mistake but recommended acceptance, what to do?

I recently received a referee report on a math paper in a mid-tier journal. In this paper I proved (to give an example avoiding technicalities) that all dogs are cute. But the referee claimed in his ...
47
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2answers
6k views

A paper review I've undertaken turning out to be harder than expected

I recently agreed to review a journal paper (in theoretical computer science). After I started to read it in depth, I found out it is much harder than I expected - over 60 pages with over 20 theorems ...
47
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5answers
5k views

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 ...
47
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4answers
15k views

How to correct plagiarism in my own Master's thesis, years later?

My situation is somewhat similar to this question, but I'm the plagiarizer. Six years ago I did my Master's degree by coursework at university X, and wrote the Master's thesis under supervision of ...
47
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5answers
7k views

What to do if I am on a hiring committee and I am aware that a candidate has exhibited unethical behavior in his previous position?

After a series of unethical incidents that affected me directly in my previous academic institution, I managed to move to a higher ranked department in my field about seven years ago. I am now in the ...
46
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15answers
31k views

Professor gave me a higher grade than I deserved. What should I do?

During one of my undergraduate semesters I was pretty depressed (for various personal reasons) and was struggling with completing my coursework. One class in particular didn't have a final exam, there ...
46
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8answers
12k views

As an undergrad, is it unethical to work in a field that I'm not interested in pursuing further in graduate school?

I'm a CS undergrad in my senior year(last week!). I've been working as a part-time research assistant in a research institute. I didn't think twice when I took the job, as I just thought it would be ...
46
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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?
46
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11answers
11k views

Is it ethical to publish homework?

Sometimes when doing course work for university, I'd like to write about it on my website, or publish it in its entirety, because I think that other people might be interested in it. My goal is not ...
46
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4answers
8k views

Meeting dishonest ex-supervisors at large international conference — Should one speak out?

I have returned to my country after one negative experience as a postdoc in China. In short, I was hired based on false salary & funding expectations supported by shady vague contracts written in ...
45
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11answers
24k views

How can I avoid inadvertently offending my female peers and getting into trouble for it?

Attention has been drawn recently to an incident that occurred at a scientific conference and its sequelae described in this article: The fuss started when [Prof. X] and [Prof. Y] ended up in the ...
45
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4answers
6k views

How to respond to someone plagiarizing my work?

I have recently come across a paper that copy-pasted entire paragraphs of one of my papers which is already published in an international journal. This paper appeared in a journal which is not very ...
45
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6answers
10k views

When to give up seeking justice after you've been plagiarized?

I found that a Ph.D. student, recently graduated, plagiarized over a dozen passages from a book I based on my own Ph.D. dissertation of some years ago. Their dissertation is on the Internet, which is ...
44
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8answers
11k views

Co-authors decided to remove most of my contributions from a Nature paper without my consent

I am a postdoc and have dedicated the past five years to working on a big project spanning several groups and countries. My and my supervisor’s contribution was to interpret their results in light of ...
44
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6answers
14k 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 ...
44
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5answers
7k views

Am I obligated to continue to work on a paper I contributed significantly to?

As an undergraduate, I did some group research a little over a year ago which is now being compiled into a paper. My advisor at the time is contacting us to request feedback and help writing it. I am ...
44
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5answers
8k views

Rejection from a legitimate journal, with reviewers recommending me to try a Beall's list journal

Recently I received a rejection by the editor of SCI Expanded journal (which I consider to be a legitimate journal): The reviewer's comments (just a few days after I submitted the manuscript): ...
44
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4answers
7k views

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. ...
44
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4answers
11k views

Should I inform authorities of someone falsely claiming a non-existing PhD?

I know a person who falsely claims having a PhD in computer science. His name card reads as "Name, PhD" and he has long been working in a high profile and remunerative position for a semi-government ...
44
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4answers
5k views

What can academics and students do to reduce racism in academia?

I am a postdoc at a university in the UK. Before I came here, a friend warned me that racism is common in the UK. True enough, during my first few months here, I have already received a couple of ...
43
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10answers
13k views

Is it unethical to expect one's PhD students to work after graduation without compensation? Should graduates ask for compensation for work?

My thesis advisor expects me to 1) write the paper rebuttal and 2) finish any remaining experiments by coming in on the weekends, for free. I am now working full-time in industry, and no longer being ...
43
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4answers
5k views

Report blatant self-plagiarism to journal editor or PubPeer?

I came across an article by X and Y that is a nearly 100% self-plagiarised from an article by X several years earlier. A couple of words were changed, but that is it. The figures and tables are the ...

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