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157 votes
3 answers

How are Ph.D. applications evaluated in the US, particularly for weak or borderline students? Am I likely to get into school X?

This is a special community wiki 'canonical' question that aggregates advice on a frequently-asked question. See this meta discussion. Please feel free to edit this question to improve it. When ...
177 votes
1 answer

What does the typical workflow of a journal look like? How should I interpret a particular submission status?

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 ...
76 votes
1 answer

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 ...
jakebeal's user avatar
  • 185k
622 votes
13 answers

How should I deal with becoming discouraged 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 ...
Aru Ray's user avatar
  • 20.1k
275 votes
9 answers

How to effectively deal with Imposter Syndrome and feelings of inadequacy: "I've somehow convinced everyone that I'm actually good at this"

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 ...
Aru Ray's user avatar
  • 20.1k
30 votes
10 answers

How does the admissions process work for Ph.D. programs in Country X?

This is a special community wiki 'canonical' question that aggregates advice on a frequently-asked question. See this meta discussion. Please feel free to edit this question to improve it. Please give ...
122 votes
18 answers

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 ...
user avatar
215 votes
5 answers

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 ...
TCSGrad's user avatar
  • 9,591
161 votes
20 answers

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 ...
Alan's user avatar
  • 2,031
134 votes
8 answers

How do I identify predatory and low quality journals? 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 ...
eykanal's user avatar
  • 48.2k
45 votes
2 answers

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 ...
120 votes
9 answers

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 ...
user avatar
99 votes
9 answers

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 ...
Artem Kaznatcheev's user avatar
226 votes
15 answers

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 ...
Learning's user avatar
  • 2,353
153 votes
11 answers

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?
Eminem's user avatar
  • 2,217
163 votes
18 answers

What does first authorship really mean in field X?

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, ...
40 votes
7 answers

How can I determine whether a conference is reputable?

I recently received an invitation to a conference and I'm trying to determine how reputable it is. Is there a good way to go about this?
userJT's user avatar
  • 2,975
34 votes
2 answers

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 ...
user14448's user avatar
  • 343
54 votes
4 answers

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 ...
StrongBad's user avatar
  • 103k
44 votes
3 answers

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 ...
StrongBad's user avatar
  • 103k
57 votes
11 answers

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 ...
earthling's user avatar
  • 23.1k
135 votes
7 answers

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?
Bravo's user avatar
  • 22.7k
36 votes
3 answers

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 ...
68 votes
1 answer

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 ...
Bravo's user avatar
  • 22.7k
53 votes
6 answers

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 I ...
11 votes
3 answers

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 ...
user avatar
125 votes
8 answers

Is ignoring emails acceptable in academia?

As a grad student, I just find it tremendously frustrating when emails are ignored by faculty (both at my institution and at other places). Is this acceptable? I'd be content with a simple response ...
user avatar
36 votes
3 answers

Rejecting a PhD offer after having accepted it. Advice?

I have accepted a PhD offer from a very good university to do a project very close to my interests. I have told the project supervisor I accept it. In the meanwhile I have managed to secure a PhD ...
Marion's user avatar
  • 713
75 votes
9 answers

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 ...
Liana's user avatar
  • 2,091
69 votes
7 answers

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 ...
hesson's user avatar
  • 982
108 votes
3 answers

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?
Dr. Snoopy's user avatar
  • 2,083
69 votes
4 answers

What to do when you spend several months working on an idea that fails in a masters thesis?

How shall a masters student deal with the complete failure to meet the expected results when working on a master's thesis? For example, in the field of machine learning a masters student might spend ...
Magellanea's user avatar
114 votes
4 answers

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 ...
biohazard's user avatar
  • 1,826
55 votes
4 answers

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 ...
Cameron Smith's user avatar
35 votes
3 answers

Choosing my name as an author when publishing a scientific paper, can I use my "unofficial" first name?

I have one official first name which appears on my ID card. I have another first name which friends call me by. Is it possible to use my unofficial first name and official family name to publish ...
MOON's user avatar
  • 1,775
19 votes
6 answers

Is it worth self-funding a PhD to attend a top 10 university?

What should I opt for? Option A) very well paid PhD, around €3000 per month at a respectable university or; Option B) a non-paid PhD, where I have to pay €2000 per year at one of the top 10 ...
AnarKi's user avatar
  • 525
127 votes
18 answers

I was caught cheating on an exam, how can I minimize the damage?

I got caught cheating in a two-hour engineering exam consisting of 100 multiple choice questions which was done online through the moodle e-learning software. I feel like my life is almost over. ...
user avatar
91 votes
9 answers

Attitudes towards self-plagiarism

I am planning to write several papers exploring various aspects of the same scientific question. Each of these papers must have an introduction which motivates it and explains the relationship between ...
morgan's user avatar
  • 1,520
82 votes
11 answers

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 though about the ethics of co-...
user avatar
74 votes
4 answers

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 ...
User 17670's user avatar
  • 2,202
52 votes
3 answers

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 ...
Scientist's user avatar
  • 9,094
55 votes
7 answers

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 ...
Federico Poloni's user avatar
53 votes
4 answers

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 ...
Bravo's user avatar
  • 22.7k
51 votes
9 answers

why do academics write peer reviews?

I do not understand what good it does them. A professor said it gives opportunity to read papers he would not read on his own. I am sure there is more to it but I do not see what they gain by ...
user4231's user avatar
  • 2,250
39 votes
3 answers

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 ...
BSteinhurst's user avatar
  • 5,579
136 votes
16 answers

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 ...
aeismail's user avatar
  • 173k
52 votes
3 answers

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 ...
Lars Kotthoff's user avatar
39 votes
6 answers

If I publish under a pseudonym, can I still take credit for my work?

Is it possible to publish under a nom de plume (pen name, pseudonym)? ... and still take credit for the work? I may have a chance to publish with the professor I am working with soon and if I am on ...
C.E.Sally's user avatar
  • 491
9 votes
1 answer

How long does it usually take to hear back for academic positions? Why haven't I heard back and when should I follow up?

This is a special community wiki 'canonical' question that aggregates advice on a frequently-asked question. See this meta discussion. Please feel free to edit this question to improve it. I submitted ...
6 votes
3 answers

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 ...
BCLC's user avatar
  • 1

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