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Questions tagged [legal-issues]

On legal issues affecting academicians. Note that Academia.SE, like any SE site, cannot offer specific legal advice; consult a lawyer for such questions. Use [law], not [legal-issues], for questions on law as an academic discipline or field of study.

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42
votes
3answers
8k views

Persistent issues with salary pay as a postdoc in China: What can I do?

I am a third-time postdoc, and had never before had problems with getting paid. For almost two years now I have been a postdoctoral fellow at a university in southern China. This is my first ...
59
votes
5answers
12k views

Should I send a “cease-and-desist” letter to ResearchGate?

ResearchGate is pretty well placed on Google. But it does not have a lot of contents or active users, despite their constant invitation spam. So they spidered a lot of publications, and provide some ...
31
votes
4answers
20k views

Is it legal to use Sci-Hub in Germany?

I used to use this website to get the research papers that are not freely available online. So, passing the right name of any research work for this Russian website will derive the paper directly to ...
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 ...
6
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3answers
5k views

Can I mention brand names and their products in my research/technical paper?

I want to write a paper on Mobile Screens in HCI, as phones are getting uncomfortably big for users, I want to provide some solution to the big screen phones or how logically state that how small ...
43
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5answers
13k 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 ...
15
votes
3answers
1k views

How to legally re-use images in paper and still continue to use and distribute them in slides?

I have created several figures that are a part of presentation slides. As usual for presentation slides, those were not published in any official proceedings (just the underlying paper, that didn't ...
30
votes
8answers
6k views

Postdoc that refuses to follow the terms of her contract

I am supervising a research group. Each year, our institution offers several four years postdoc positions, and one year ago I told a friend of mine to apply to it because we work in very similar ...
34
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10answers
18k views

Writing someone else's master's thesis: Unethical and illegal?

It is really difficult for me to decide on this situation: when someone calls me and asks for work-for-hire for his/her thesis. I don't know what to do. I want to help and earn money but I think this ...
23
votes
1answer
860 views

How is US law on equal opportunity enforced in academic recruitment?

Almost every US university states on its job advertisements that the university is an equal opportunity employer. Based on federal law, this means that applicants not be judged by their race, color, ...
21
votes
3answers
5k views

How does a petty marijuana possession charge affect graduate admissions in math?

I was charged with possession of marijuana earlier this year. In my state, it's not a crime, just a violation with a fine. Technically, it's not even a conviction because there's a diversion program ...
8
votes
3answers
672 views

Is an automatic copyright transfer clause in publisher's instructions to authors typically enforced/enforceable?

Some publishers have a clause like the following in their author instructions: Submission of a manuscript implies... that if and when the manuscript is accepted for publication, the authors agree ...
8
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3answers
1k views

How should I address a potential FERPA violation by a professor?

In the United States, federal law prohibits professors from releasing any student's grades to any party other than the student and any party whom the student authorizes to receive the grades. One of ...
7
votes
1answer
684 views

Copyright – use of images to train algorithm

I am working on a university project about computer vision. Part of my work requires object recognition, for which I would use cascade classifiers. These cascade classifiers need to be “taught” what ...
147
votes
12answers
41k views

Our teacher is encouraging us to use cracked software

I'm taking a course named Numerical and Computational Methods Based on Mathematica (Or in Chinese: "基于Mathematica的数值计算方法"), but Wolfram Mathematica is a bit expensive for me to afford. On the first ...
37
votes
8answers
57k views

Legality of downloading books from websites such as Library Genesis

I am an international student who will be joining a graduate program at a US university starting Fall '18. In my home country, I have used such websites as Library Genesis and BookFi to download ...
170
votes
7answers
40k views

Is it acceptable to publish student names with the label 'stupid question', on a publicly-visible website?

While I was browsing faculty websites, I came across this page (new link: http://www.pdmi.ras.ru/~iaroslav/teaching.php?screen_check=done&Width=360&Height=640). Near the bottom there is a ...
69
votes
7answers
8k views

Are PhD supervisors responsible for informing students about legal issues pertaining to research?

After an extreme amount of effort, I am now in possession of a very large dataset of human experiments which is required for my research. However, after speaking with some of my colleagues about ...
16
votes
6answers
11k views

Is it bizarre that a professor asks every student for a 3 inch by 5 inch photograph? [closed]

The professor asks this of every student. It's 2 points on an introductory assignment worth 10. Does anyone think this is bizarre? I'm against it to the point that I think it should not be allowed by ...
7
votes
1answer
1k views

Can I use someone else's research commercially?

I found a published research paper from the research arm of a company. I would like to use what is presented in the research paper commercially. The materials presented in the research paper do not ...
52
votes
7answers
10k views

Is “Assistant Professor Position (Tenure Track) for a female Researcher” illegal in Austria?

Not so long ago an Austrian institution posted a job ad titled "Assistant Professor Position (Tenure Track) for a female Researcher". The description says further As part of a special measure ...
21
votes
2answers
1k views

Can we use students' class homework solution for research purpose?

A colleague of mine would like to compare 25+ different Java implementations of the same homework. Is it OK (ethically/legally in the US) to share my students' class homework solutions with him for ...
13
votes
3answers
2k views

Disclosing hidden disability to employer

I'm doing a project-based postdoc in an European university. I have serious ongoing eye conditions that significantly affect my reading speed and as a result it took me 5 years to complete my PhD in ...
7
votes
2answers
1k views

Is consent required to record audio of a conference talk in the US?

Do I need a consent to record audio of a presentation at a scientific conference in USA (provided that the conference does not explicitly prohibit such recording)? I'm guessing since it is not a ...
7
votes
2answers
528 views

If a paper or software is released to the public, can the university still file a patent?

It is my understanding that patents can be invalidated if there is prior art to the technique at hand; DJB has a piece that would suggest that this way authors can inadvertently invalidate their own ...
-1
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1answer
3k views

I'm a PhD student, my supervisor is a complete bully. Should I take legal action? [closed]

If a PhD student has been bullied by their supervisor, should they take legal action and sue for damages? Taking legal action could prevent the supervisor from subjecting others to this treatment in ...
29
votes
2answers
1k views

Has the DeWitt Clause, which prevents publication of named DBMS benchmarks, ever been successfully defended in court?

Several commercial database vendors include an end-user license agreement provision, known as the DeWitt Clause, that prohibits researchers and scientists from explicitly using the names of their ...
26
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6answers
5k views

What does a promise of possible funding “based on availability of departmental funding” actually mean?

I'm finishing up my third year of a PhD program this Spring. Until recently, I had assumed that I would have four years of funding as many of the PhD students do. However, after asking the department ...
18
votes
3answers
4k views

Is it lawful for a fellowship linked to a permanent faculty position at a British university in the STEM field to only be available to females?

The internally funded Anne McLaren Fellowships at The University of Nottingham state in their eligibility that "Candidates for the Anne McLaren Fellowships must be female and pursuing a career in a ...
18
votes
4answers
2k views

Does publishing a book while employed by an academic institution grant them legal claim on the royalties?

If I publish a book on my research topics while employed for an academic institution, can they claim part of the revenues I get from royalties ? My question is relative to Europe, but if someone knows ...
15
votes
1answer
601 views

How often do publishers sue researchers for copyright infringement for putting their articles on a personal website?

I know that some publishers sometimes send copyright infringement emails to researchers putting their articles on a personal website. How often do publishers actually sue researchers for copyright ...
14
votes
2answers
1k views

Ramifications of withdrawing publication offer (question from student editor)?

I am the editor of a student-edited journal at a graduate school. We extended a publication offer to an author that has published with the journal in the past, and with whom I do not wish to burn any ...
14
votes
2answers
555 views

Publishing and Self-Archiving

Recently I had a paper accepted by a major journal in discrete mathematics. Now the paper is going through the final stages of publication. The publisher sent me a link in which I have to specify the ...
9
votes
1answer
422 views

When is it necessary to consult a university lawyer?

A comment on this answer of mine about e-book lending suggested that it would be better to talk to a lawyer. The situation is as follows: My head of school asked me to explore means of providing our ...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

Would tenured professors who are charged with a crime generally be fired?

What's the usual (North American) universities' practice on dealing with tenured professors who have been criminally charged? I've encountered two scenarios indirectly that could make some professors ...
6
votes
3answers
614 views

Making latex sourcefiles publicly available by default

Question: where can I find (legal/pragmatic) information about having latex source files for scientific articles publicly available on github? Or, how would you deal with it? Problem description: I ...
6
votes
3answers
604 views

Could research data fall under the Freedom of Information Act?

When I refer to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) I mean either the federal act or similarly implemented state laws. Clearly the validity of such requests would have to be limited to institutions ...
4
votes
2answers
401 views

US statute of Higher Education System

I'm taking for granted several fact about higher-education system in the US, such as: Professors can move freely between universities, even ones outside US. They are in this regard like professional ...
3
votes
3answers
2k views

One student grading other students' assignments in the same course?

In the US, can a student who is already enrolled in a course grade homework assignments of all other students in the same course (but not actually accessing and changing academic records)? Is it legal ...
17
votes
3answers
528 views

Advice wanted concerning students who have had run ins with the law.

I am a first year grad student with an expunged felony in the state of Arkansas. I am looking for advice on if and how I should communicate this with my adviser. The felony is due to a drug crime and ...
14
votes
5answers
3k views

How will expulsion for physical abuse and sexual misconduct affect a student's future educational career?

I recently had a university student (my ex) expelled from my undergrad university when he was found responsible for physical abuse and sexual misconduct. How would this expulsion affect his future ...
14
votes
4answers
5k views

Is it appropriate for a PI to appoint someone who is a family member?

I am a junior faculty in one of the top-tier research US institutions. I just joined the department and hired two GRAs meanwhile. In addition, I would like to appoint one more individual in my ...
12
votes
3answers
2k views

Can we buy licenses for e-books and lend them to students?

We are thinking about buying new textbooks for our students. Is there an established practice of buying digital copies of books for students? I expect that e-books should generally be cheaper and we ...
8
votes
1answer
743 views

Terms agreed upon for PhD offer are being unilaterally rescinded—what to do?

At my old university: I was a visiting researcher at a university, working with my current advisor. My advisor got an offer to go to another university. He also offered me to join him at his new ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

Am I allowed to republish / distribute abstracts?

Example: I have a document containing 1,000 abstracts of research articles from different publishers. Am I allowed to distribute this document for free online? If not, has anyone being sued for doing ...
5
votes
3answers
5k views

Possible to leave a contract academic position shortly after signing new contract? [closed]

I am an assistant professor on a year-to-year contract in academic med (I'm a PhD biostatistician). I just signed a new contract in July. I have been 'head hunted' to join a private company, and I am ...
4
votes
3answers
1k views

Applying for a new doctoral program after expulsion

I am not prepared to give many details in a public forum - as such this posting will contain intentional generalizations that may be of interest to academia.se's research higher studies community help,...
3
votes
2answers
302 views

Can I use data and images found online in my project report, under the fair use clause in copyright law?

I am a mechanical engineering graduate student, and am working on my final project. I am doing a finite element analysis of a particular phenomenon. I was hoping to find test data of that particular ...
2
votes
1answer
552 views

Posting solutions to textbook problems online [duplicate]

I'm interested in knowing whether there are any legal issues (e.g., copyright infringement) in posting solutions to problems of a (paid) textbook. I have mentioned these problems in class and did not ...
1
vote
1answer
69 views

Copyright-related advice for graphic designer creating content for academic publications

I'm in the following situation: I'm a researcher and hold a degree in life sciences. I also like graphic design and occasionally doodle up a figure to include in a report or such. I'm not a ...