All Questions

119
votes
3answers
57k views

How does the admissions process work for Ph.D. programs in the US, particularly for weak or borderline students?

When applying to a PhD program in the US, how does the admissions process work? If an applicant is weak in a particular area, is it possible to offset that by being strong in a different area? Note ...
121
votes
1answer
47k views

What does the typical workflow of a journal look like?

What steps does a manuscript typically go through from submission to publication (or rejection) in a typical journal? How are these steps referred to, in particular by editorial systems, and how long ...
526
votes
12answers
58k views

How should I deal with discouragement as a graduate student?

I am a third year (starting fourth year in the fall) PhD student in mathematics. I've passed all qualifying exams and am currently doing research. As far as I can tell, I am not doing poorly. I have ...
39
votes
2answers
5k views

Graduate school admission with a degree in a different field

Can I be admitted to graduate school in a different field from my degree? Specific cases include: If I've taken plenty of advanced courses in field X in the process of completing a degree in another ...
153
votes
20answers
25k views

How do you judge the quality of a journal?

A colleague and I recently submitted a paper to a journal with an impressive-sounding name, the "International Journal of Artificial Intelligence and Computational Research". According to their ...
107
votes
9answers
135k views

How do you get a bad transcript past Ph.D. admissions?

I have a master's degree in International Studies, and a double major with Computer Science from undergrad. My transcripts suck. There's no other way to dress it up. I have pretty good teaching ...
184
votes
4answers
32k views

University rank/stature - How much does it affect one's career post-Ph.D?

What I'm trying to understand is, to what degree does the status/rank of the University (where one completes his/her Ph.D) matter while shaping his/her career after graduation? I would like to know ...
58
votes
1answer
4k views

How should I phrase an important question that I need to ask a professor?

When needing to ask a professor about something important and potentially delicate, what is an appropriate way to phrase the question or write the email? Examples include: Requesting a ...
88
votes
8answers
15k views

When should a supervisor be an author?

I understand that in a lot of big-lab fields it is common for the principal investigator to append their name to a paper even if they did not write the paper, design the experiment, or collect data ...
92
votes
18answers
83k views

Is doing two PhDs a good path?

I am studying a combined bachelor of engineering (electrical) and bachelor of mathematics; I just started this year and will graduate in 2018. The reason why I am doing double degrees and not a single ...
120
votes
11answers
62k views

Does one need to be affiliated with a university to publish papers?

Assume you have already completed your undergrad and have been working for a number of years. Does one need to be part of a university or a learning institution to publish papers?
186
votes
14answers
47k views

I believe I have solved a famous open problem. How do I convince people in the field that I am not a crank?

I am interested in the situation where you have a very interesting result. For instance, you have solved a very important open problem. However, you are not known in the field and do not have any ...
139
votes
16answers
48k views

What does first authorship really mean?

In my field (theoretical computer science), authors of any paper are always listed alphabetically; our papers don't have "first authors". (Well... hardly ever.) In most other disciplines, at least ...
10
votes
3answers
23k views

How to convert from one grading scheme to another?

I'm trying to figure out the equivalence between grade schemes in different countries. According to some Google results: If you are a U.S. citizen, you need a GPA of 3.2+ (it varies, some say 3.2 ...
29
votes
3answers
6k views

Is my paper under review (or similar) for too long and if yes, how should I react?

I submitted a paper to a journal, and I suspect that it is handled too slowly. How can I decide whether my suspicion is correct? What handling times should I expect? Given some expected handling ...
62
votes
1answer
18k views

Choosing research ideas to include in a statement of purpose

The internet is littered with information on what makes a good SOP, but I would like to ask a specific question regarding mentioning one's research interests in SOP. What points should a student keep ...
39
votes
3answers
5k views

What are the minimum contributions required for co-authorship

In this answer it is claimed that authorship is given away for "free" in some fields (e.g., obtaining the funding). The comments to the answer suggest that this is field dependent. I am looking for ...
212
votes
8answers
24k views

“I've somehow convinced everyone that I'm actually good at this” - how to effectively deal with Imposter Syndrome

Imposter syndrome is a psychological phenomenon wherein an individual is convinced that they do not deserve the success that they have achieved despite (perhaps extensive) empirical evidence to the ...
52
votes
4answers
24k views

How to contact professors for PhD vacancies?

I know many master's students who get an opportunity to talk to their potential PhD advisors well before applying. In most cases this opportunity is available by the professors with whom they worked ...
27
votes
2answers
9k views

What to put in “affiliation” field when submitting paper without affiliation?

Recently my paper is reviewed (by a professor from independent third party) and accepted by a journal. But, my employer allows me to publish this paper only without its name there. Publishing house ...
44
votes
4answers
1k views

Attributing contributions to academic work that occur in Stack Exchange

Sometimes we may ask questions on stack exchange or online forums wherein the response is helpful or even essential to a piece of work that gets published in an academic journal. If this occurs, how ...
43
votes
2answers
5k views

How to identify predatory publishers/journals

What are the best strategies for assessing if a journal is a "vanity" or "predatory" journal that should be avoided (both for publishing in and reviewing for)? For example, how would one go about ...
112
votes
4answers
11k views

What are “fake”, “shady”, and/or “predatory” journals?

This question is in response to this very interesting question. The original post mentioned that they wish to retract their paper from a "fake" journal. I don't know what a fake journal is but better ...
57
votes
6answers
29k 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 ...
45
votes
8answers
23k views

How old is too old for a PhD?

Are there any age limits (formal, informal, or guidelines) that schools use when deciding to accept someone into a PhD program? I'm most curious about the upper age limits. For example, will most ...
66
votes
9answers
148k views

Is transferring to another university an option for an unhappy PhD student?

I've heard of people transferring between graduate schools because of their advisor moving to another school and taking their students with them. Do students ever transfer for other reasons? If a ...
39
votes
3answers
6k 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
3k views

With a background in mathematical finance and desire to apply for a mathematics PhD in another field, do I need a second master's?

Pardon the dumb question if ever. I notice similar questions all sound like "can I get a second master's?" but mine is "do I need?" I am nearly finished with my master in mathematical finance. I have ...
47
votes
6answers
9k views

I've been admitted to multiple PhD programs, how should I choose between them?

I've been admitted to more than one PhD program, and I'm having a very hard time making a decision. The programs I'm accepted to have advantages and disadvantages with respect to one another. How do ...
93
votes
2answers
14k views

What is a “sandwich thesis”?

On the Internet, I have found that some people have graduated with a PhD by means of a “sandwich thesis”. Could anyone explain what it is?
106
votes
7answers
18k views

Choice of personal pronoun in single-author papers

Which personal pronoun is appropriate in single-author papers - 'I' or 'we'? Could the use of 'I' be considered egotistical? Or will the use of 'we' be considered to be grammatically incorrect?
107
votes
6answers
13k views

With Beall's List gone, how can I tell if a journal is spam?

Jeffrey Beall removed his list of predatory journals from the internet this past Sunday. While the reasons for his doing this are not yet public, this is a real loss of a valuable service. Does anyone ...
54
votes
10answers
7k views

Age and Graduate school

I am 33. I live in the US. I am a neither a US citizen, nor a green card holder. I have worked in various jobs as a research assistant (physics, biology, economics) usually involving programming, ...
92
votes
9answers
30k views

I want to do research but I'm too old for a PHD

I really love research. I started a research project in graduate school for my M.A. in English. My research topic is a very viable and interesting topic for a dissertation. I'll be 60 on my next ...
36
votes
6answers
8k views

Points to remember when having to write recommendation letter yourself

While it is an unethical academic practice, it is a fact that most recommendation letters for MS degrees in US and Europe from countries like India and China are written by students themselves. ...
27
votes
4answers
4k views

Ways to get free and legal access to research papers as a researcher

I’ve discovered that website like ResearchGate offer the possibility to ask the paper editor to provide his paper for free. Many are collaborating. Are there any other ways for researchers to obtain ...
47
votes
7answers
23k views

Does “corresponding author” carry an implied meaning?

After reading the question Mentor trying to be first author?, I got the impression that (at least in the writers' field) the "corresponding author" flag could carry an implied meaning, such as "did ...
13
votes
3answers
3k views

How handicapped am I in graduate admissions if I graduated from a lower tier university?

Due to a combination of factors, I ended up going for my undergraduate studies to a relatively unknown university that was close to me geographically. Let's say that I have a relatively standard ...
77
votes
9answers
10k views

Am I reading enough of the scientific literature? Should I read for breadth or depth?

Ever since starting graduate school I've tried to make scientific reading a part of my daily ritual; I track pages read using Beeminder, and the graph doesn't lie. It keeps me honest. I aim to ...
72
votes
11answers
9k views

Is it ethical for advisors to automatically coauthor papers?

I work in a field (Philosophy) where co-authorship is uncommon and advisors and grad students very seldomly co-author a paper. I've seen a lot of posts on Academia.se though about the ethics of co-...
55
votes
4answers
47k views

I'd like to use a figure from a paper; what's the best way to do this?

So, I've seen a really nice figure in a paper; what's the best way to 'get a copy'? Will it be on the publisher's website? Do I need to draw my own version? Email the author? And, finally, how does ...
109
votes
6answers
10k views

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 ...
30
votes
3answers
9k views

Changing affiliation on publication

I am moving from one job to another (postdoc to tenure track) this summer and I have papers in several stages of being written, these go from handwritten notes with all the necessary arguments to ...
118
votes
16answers
26k views

What to do about “grade grubbers?”

An annoying aspect of working with a "strict" grading system (e.g., 90%+ = A, 85% = A-, 80% = B+, etc.) is what I call the "grade grubbing" phenomenon: the people who feel compelled to raise ...
37
votes
4answers
8k views

Details an applicant should include/exclude in an introductory letter to a prospective grad school adviser?

I'm applying for graduate school (PhD in computer science), and I'm considering writing to faculty whose research areas match with what I intend to pursue, to understand: Whether they'd be looking ...
72
votes
13answers
9k views

Preprint services other than arXiv (for other fields)

While arXiv is great, it covers only topics in physics, mathematics and computer science. Are there any good preprint storage places for other scientific disciplines?
48
votes
3answers
20k views

What does author order indicate?

When you look at a paper, what order to you assume the authors are in? Most important/most work done first or alphabetical? In my group we usually use alphabetic order, but I've been wondering if that ...
50
votes
5answers
62k views

When does one go for a double doctorate?

I would love to know the circumstances under which people opt for a second doctorate degree. Could a professor working in a university write up a thesis and submit it to his department to earn a ...
17
votes
4answers
3k views

Undergraduate research field different from PhD field

I am a Physics undergrad who is interested in pursuing a PhD in pure maths in the future (algebraic geometry/topology) but I am a bit unsure. My question is quite general, and I don't wish to provide ...
38
votes
5answers
13k views

Is it considered plagiarism for a professor to use uncited sources in teaching materials?

I have a professor at my university who uses content from an un-cited textbook that he has never referenced anywhere, including his green sheet (syllabus), as an additional resource. At least some ...

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