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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46
votes
1answer
8k views

Alma mater (USA) refuses to remove my name from public search

The professor of a US university where I graduated from with a master's degree maintains a website that he makes available for public search. He lists students that attended one of his courses, ...
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 ...
16
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2answers
3k views

What should I do if I have accepted an offer informally but am denied the job?

This is a follow up to my other question. In November last year I accepted an informal offer of a position at a university outside my country of residence. Since then, I have in good faith withdrawn ...
65
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8answers
66k views

Is watching porn in university a crime?

I am about to start my graduate studies in an American university, moving from my native Peru. Over the course of my under-graduation, I have developed this strange habit of watching porn at odd times,...
13
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1answer
602 views

Do Nature journals wrongly claim copyright in their published pdfs?

I just noticed this and I'm slightly confused by a small detail. The Nature Publishing Group states in its Publishing Licences page that the copyright on articles remains with the author: NPG does ...
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 ...
2
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2answers
182 views

What are the legal ramifications of citing scientific articles for producing commercial software?

I am a sophomore student building some software with friends that are heavily based on various articles about distributed hash tables, networking, and various topological mathematical concepts. Since ...
4
votes
1answer
380 views

Risk to academic reputation by publicly requesting pay-walled articles

The Twitter hashtag #ICanHazPDF has been popular among academics as a method for peer-to-peer exchange of pay-walled articles. Some people call this practice "piracy", and it could be illegal ...
11
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2answers
534 views

Xilinx university program terms issue

I work at a university and want to get some FPGA development boards sponsored by Xilinx for labs. They have a donation program, so I filled a request. But after the final submission I've been ...
8
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3answers
3k views

Do I own the copyright to my Master's thesis? or does it belong to my university?

I am just done with my Masters degree in one of the universities in Germany. I am wondering if I can make my Master's thesis open for public to download and read. I am not talking about submitting ...
8
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3answers
2k views

Public dataset without license: what is allowed?

Many public scientific datasets are accompanied by a license, for example variations of Creative Commons are used quite often. However, in many cases public academic datasets lack any licensing ...
0
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1answer
170 views

Steps to take from a paper to a patent?

My question relates to the following thread I posted some weeks ago: How to publish a paper that does not seem to be within the scope of any journal? I have written the paper mentioned in that ...
4
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4answers
198 views

Is it legal for a US professor to require remuneration from the foreigner for consulting services? [closed]

A person with allegedly academic affiliation from some foreign country approaches me with the request to help them in research being within my expertise. The request anticipates about 10 hours of ...
-1
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2answers
651 views

Software copyright issues [closed]

Who owns the intellectual rights for the newly developed software if it was developed during the employee's free time? The developer was 1) working as full-time employee at university X in Western ...
1
vote
2answers
545 views

What counts as plagiarism? [closed]

Plagiarism is, the "wrongful appropriation" and "stealing and publication" of another author's "language, thoughts, ideas, or expressions" and the representation of them as one's own original ...
2
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1answer
5k views

Applying to Graduate School with misdemeanor charge? [duplicate]

I am currently a 3rd year undergraduate student at a large public university. I am a music performance major. I'm very interested in applying to graduate school for either performance or music ...
4
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1answer
87 views

Are comments on application folders accessible to students?

If a student applies to a university in the United States, can they legally access all comments written on their application (e.g. as a consequence of the FERPA)?
9
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2answers
214 views

Should I ask for permission from the journal before making available publicly the (anonymised) text of the evaluation I received from peers?

The question says it all. To add some relevant information, I must note that I published some articles in national journals The level and the process of peer review in some of those national ...
0
votes
1answer
126 views

Textbook that is a combination of other textbooks? [closed]

A, B, C are three good textbooks from the market. An author/professor translates them, taking chapter 1 from A, 2 from B, 3 from C and combining them into another textbook. The content of the new ...
32
votes
5answers
6k views

Undergrad students grading other undergrads: ethical, professional, or even legal?

As an undergraduate, I've been working as a TA in an electronics lab for a while. Recently I have been asked to grade other students' lab reports. I have also done some oral examination, but I guess ...
26
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1answer
1k views

License of code accompanying a published article

Given a paper that introduces a new algorithm and upon publication copyright is transferred to the publisher. Is an implementation of the presented algorithm considered a derivative of the published ...
8
votes
1answer
10k views

Is it legal to share an electronic copy of a few book chapters?

I have scanned a few chapters of a textbook (about 10%) and I want to make the electronic files available to my classmates. The reason why I scanned the chapters initially was so that I could print ...
6
votes
0answers
165 views

Are Harvard-style open access policies lawful under civil law? [closed]

Open access policies such as that of Harvard or MIT are implemented by granting the university some non-exclusive rights on the works written by faculty. This is very useful as it circumvents ...
3
votes
2answers
147 views

Sharing MOOC forum data

I have the forum data for several MOOCs. Can I legally share it with someone else without going through IRBs or some other administrative process? The data contain timestamp, post title, post body, ...
11
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2answers
557 views

Will a spent criminal conviction affect my chances of getting a funded PhD position?

I am in my third year of a Mathematics degree (UK). Where a masters is concerned, It seems like I only have to declare unspent convictions. But it is not clear where research positions are concerned. ...
10
votes
1answer
462 views

Does Title IX require U.S. universities to have grade expungement policies?

Under U.S. law, Title IX sets requirements on how universities must deal with sex discrimination, including making reasonable accommodations for victims of assault or harassment. One possible ...
7
votes
1answer
802 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
113 views

Digital media rights for online courses (US)

I've been trying to research how digital media can be lawfully utilized for online, distance-learning courses. The specific use case here would not be a MOOC or anything massive, but an online course ...
14
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2answers
570 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
326 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 ...
11
votes
6answers
5k views

Can I conduct psychology research involving my restaurant customers without their explicit consent?

I will be working as a waiter to make extra money, but I am also an ardent academic. I want to know if I can make audio and/or visual recordings of interactions with customers without having them sign ...
11
votes
2answers
650 views

Handwritten keys and ADA compliance

I'm a Math professor. I teach a face-to-face calculus course, and I'm in the habit of distributing handwritten quiz keys online. I'm informed by a colleague that she believes that this style of ...
1
vote
2answers
267 views

Applying for PHD programs in FLORIDA. I have a question about legal questions?

On an application form for PhD programs in Florida, they ask: "Have you recieved disciplinary action?" "Have you ever been arrested for, been convicted of, or entered a plea of "guilty" or "nolo ...
25
votes
3answers
15k views

Is it legal in the US for a student to download a copy of a textbook, to study?

(this is coming out of a comment thread regarding this question.) The USA has a Fair Use legal provision restricting its copyright law: 17 U.S.C. § 107 Notwithstanding the provisions of ...
2
votes
1answer
134 views

Having students scribe lectures: can the instructor choose any license?

For each lecture of a course, a couple of students are assigned to scribe the lecture, as part of the course requirements. Can the instructor choose any license he wants for the scribe notes? E.g. CC ...
3
votes
2answers
446 views

Is it ethical (or legal, if applicable) to say you have a degree in X if your degree was in “X and Y” (single major)?

There are departments in many schools that offer "hybrid" majors, such as: Computer Science and Engineering Electrical and Computer Engineering Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Materials ...
15
votes
1answer
633 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 ...
5
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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 ...
8
votes
1answer
623 views

Researcher with Startup Company - Conflicts of Interest?

Looking for your advice on best practices on how to avoid conflicts of research. The facts: Researcher is a director of a research institute on campus. Researcher has a start-up company involved ...
12
votes
3answers
3k views

Is it ethical/legal to use the University's resources for a personal project?

I am currently pursuing a PhD at Technion (Israel). My area of study lies in computational fluid dynamics (CFD), which involves high performance computing. My research requires me to develop/use ...
14
votes
5answers
5k views

Is it okay to upload the PDF of my non-open access papers in academia.edu or research gate?

Is it legal to upload a PDF of my non-open-access papers to research networks, such as ResearchGATE and Academia.edu? I am pretty sure that it could cause some problems, because normally people ...
6
votes
3answers
1k views

Do UK universities have a special obligation to advertise jobs externally?

I often hear it said that all jobs have to be advertised externally before anyone can be appointed to an academic post in a UK university. However, this rule about having to advertise externally is ...
15
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
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 ...
4
votes
1answer
923 views

If I develop a product as part of a project at university, does the university have any ownership over it?

To specify further, this is an undergraduate project, not a PhD, so (I think) that this is not directly funded by the University, and I am studying in the UK. I ask because I have a few ideas about ...
6
votes
3answers
623 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 ...
12
votes
3answers
2k views

Can I get inspired from Patented Algorithm?

I read an algorithm that is patented, I was inspired in one part of it and applied something similar (not exact) to my algorithm (e.g one step they applied out of their 10 steps algorithm I used in my ...
-3
votes
1answer
692 views

“All rights reserved” vs Creative Commons BY-NC-ND [closed]

When choosing a license for a paper, is the most restrictive creative commons (CC Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs (CC BY-NC-ND)) equivalent to "all rights reserved"? I'm having trouble ...
3
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2answers
733 views

Legality of universities posting sections of books online

Something I have noticed in my courses over the years is that in addition to all the online distributions of textbooks (which I understand to be mostly illegal), I can often times find universities ...
3
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2answers
1k views

Is it okay to give a gift to my research mentor who happens to be the dean?

I'm about to graduate and would like to give my research mentor a book as a gift. It is common in my institute (which is in the US) to give professors gifts as students graduate. However, the problem ...