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123
votes
19answers
39k views

Should I quit my PhD - workload, self-esteem and social life [closed]

I don't really want a degree. I just want to get married, and have weekends and evenings off, and chill out and play board games, and have nice conversations with friends, and have time to exercise ...
122
votes
13answers
36k views

Is it ethical/acceptable to give a lighter penalty to students who admit to cheating?

I am at the moment dealing with an academic dishonesty incident in a class I'm teaching (a few groups of students submitting identical code, when the class policy forbids getting help from another ...
122
votes
9answers
18k views

Taking an academic pseudonym?

I am a senior undergraduate about to publish my first academic paper, and have been thinking about taking an academic pseudonym to make myself easier to identify. My full name is shared by at least ...
121
votes
26answers
103k views

Slept through final, professor is giving me a zero and failing me – is there anything I can do to change this?

I slept through my 8 am final last Thursday, and I didn’t wake up until 11:50 am. By the time I scrambled to remember what day it was, it was already noon. I frantically sent the professor an email ...
121
votes
17answers
35k views

Should I send professors money for illegally downloading their books? [closed]

I illegally download almost all the books I need for my studies. While I'm more than happy to give a middle finger to the publisher mafia, it does of course mean that the author of the book is not ...
120
votes
13answers
46k views

How to supervise a bad PhD student

I am a postdoc helping in the supervision of a PhD student who is finishing his 2nd year now. This is in Europe, meaning the student came in with a MSc degree and these 2 years have been of research. "...
120
votes
8answers
52k views

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 ...
119
votes
15answers
34k views

How do you answer “Oh, you're a professor? What do you teach?”

I suspect anybody who's a professor knows this story: you meet someone new in a social setting and it comes up that you're a professor. The inevitable next question is, "oh, what do you teach?" It's ...
118
votes
12answers
21k views

Do academics look down on well-designed academic websites?

Rationally, I should not be concerned about building a well-designed academic website for myself. But academic websites are consistently so visually spare and poorly designed that I would feel like a ...
118
votes
18answers
107k views

Knowing that most students submit assignments right around the deadline, is it advisable not to set deadline that is very late at night?

Like many on this site, I use a Moodle-type online Content Management System to give assignments to my students, and receive the finished work for grading. This is in a traditional context where the ...
118
votes
9answers
159k 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 ...
118
votes
9answers
26k views

How to deal with anxiety and depression after being kicked out of PhD program?

I was kicked out of a programming-oriented PhD program at the end of last summer because I failed one of two qualifying exams; the department is keeping me on assistantship for a semester while I ...
117
votes
14answers
28k views

How to react when encountering students who have previously failed my course?

Context: I am an assistant professor of mathematics at a small liberal-arts college in the US. I did my graduate work at a large public university, and there I rarely encountered students who had ...
117
votes
6answers
19k views

What should I do after advisor got upset when I expressed “belief in evolution” and then said he couldn't add me to his research team?

A bit of background: I am a graduate student working towards my Masters in physics. During this summer I signed up for some classes that are somewhat outside my main focus of study. For instance, ...
117
votes
5answers
11k views

If I request a paper through my university library, must they pay a substantial amount of money?

I was asked to referee a mathematics article, submitted for publication in a reputable journal. To evaluate it, I also wanted to look at a cited article which it claims to extend. Upon searching ...
117
votes
8answers
10k views

How to argue against questionable research practices such as P-hacking and Harking?

I have come into conflict with co-authors when being asked to do things that I consider to be questionable. Once I was told to try every possible specification of a dependent variable (count, ...
116
votes
13answers
107k views

Software to draw illustrative figures in papers [closed]

I would like to have suggestions of good software for drawing illustrations in research papers. I already know about Xfig, but this works only on Linux and is at times, clunky when it comes to text. ...
116
votes
2answers
22k views

What is this “can I hire you as a tutor” scam?

From time to time (presumably because I have an academic address, or am listed on a university web site) I get an e-mail like this: "My son will be in your city next month for two weeks. He is ...
116
votes
7answers
25k 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?
115
votes
16answers
38k views

In a yes/no question, a student gives the right answer and an unnecessary but wrong explanation. How to grade?

Example: Q: Does Venus exhibit retrograde motion? (1 mark) A: No. This is because Venus orbits the Sun and not the Earth. The first part is correct: Venus does not exhibit retrograde motion. But the ...
115
votes
7answers
20k views

Advisor tries to reproduce my results to ensure my honesty. Is it the norm?

I am a M.Sc. student in Machine Learning, about to finish my thesis this month. My advisor wants me to meet him in person to reproduce my results under his control. It is obvious that the main reason ...
115
votes
5answers
16k views

What is the purpose of women-only meetings, panels, conferences, etc. in academia?

Since entering graduate school, albeit in a STEM field, I have never been exposed to such an emphasis on women-only meetings, leadership conferences, panels, etc. I have seen most, if not all of these ...
115
votes
6answers
12k 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 ...
114
votes
15answers
41k views

Is it appropriate to email a professor saying you enjoyed their class, after doing well in it?

I recently finished taking an undergraduate class and I enjoyed it. I was thinking of emailing the prof and saying this, but I don't know if it's appropriate or not, for a few reasons: I would have ...
114
votes
9answers
38k views

Googling my name reveals silly things from when I was younger. I am embarassed. How will this affect me in my future academic career?

I am a masters student at one of the top two universities in the UK and will be applying for PhD positions soon. When I google my (unique) name, the first few results are what you'd expect, my ...
114
votes
11answers
28k views

What to remember when supervising female PhD students?

I have been supervising a female PhD student for a couple of months. She is the first female PhD student I am supervising and got the position on merit. My view is that her gender does not/should ...
114
votes
11answers
29k views

Fellow student asked question from take-home exam on Stack Exchange

In an advanced university course on computer science and problem solving, one of my fellow students asked for a solution to a home exam on one of the Stack Exchange sites. The question he asked is ...
114
votes
5answers
21k views

Gender transition as a starting faculty member: a terrible idea?

I'm a computer scientist at the point in my postdoc where I will have to decide soon whether to apply for faculty positions this fall or go to industry, in the US/Canada/UK/maybe Europe.1 But I've ...
114
votes
4answers
12k 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 ...
113
votes
14answers
47k views

How to deal with arrogant e-mail of a student

I have sent the solutions of some assignments to the students of my class. One of my students sent me a message that reads as follows (not greeting or anything, no closing, just the following): ...
113
votes
10answers
22k views

Editor rejected manuscript claiming it is similar to a not-yet-published manuscript (that I haven't seen). How to proceed?

A few months ago, I submitted a manuscript. After the reviews were completed I received a rejection decision from the Associate Editor (AE). The rejection was based on the basis of a single rejection ...
113
votes
10answers
25k views

Do I not have the personality for a PhD?

I've been in the PhD program for a couple years now and I feel like people have a lot of expectations about the way I should think and feel about things. Not just my technical competence, but also my ...
113
votes
9answers
15k views

Asking questions in class: how can I “exit” a Q&A when I haven't really understood?

I'm an undergrad and I tend to learn better when I understand the concepts behind things instead of rote repetition. As a result of this, I often have questions. There are times when I don't ...
112
votes
13answers
46k views

Why do students go for a PhD even when chances of getting academic jobs on its completion are slim?

This is in reference to my question: How to do a PhD to equip myself for a job as assistant professor. I was told in the answer of the above linked question that chances of landing a job as an ...
112
votes
15answers
29k views

Why are research papers written in language that's difficult for undergraduate students?

As an undergraduate student, I find it hard to understand research papers on any particular subject. Why don't researchers use simple language for their reports, so that everyone would understand? ...
112
votes
9answers
18k views

How to stop feeling guilty about unfinished work?

My biggest challenge as a PhD student is best summarized by the following from PHD Comics: "Piled Higher and Deeper" by Jorge Cham www.phdcomics.com A consequence of working in research is that the ...
111
votes
28answers
34k views

How to silence the voice that tells you you're being financially irresponsible by spending 4 to 6 years doing a PhD?

I'm very conflicted regarding applying to (American) PhD programs vs. not doing so and finding a job in industry to have more money. The thought of doing a PhD makes me feel financially irresponsible;...
111
votes
6answers
19k views

What is the point of listing 1000 authors for a single scientific paper?

I arrived at the printer room this afternoon to collect my printing and I happened to notice that someone was yet to collect a printout of the gravitational waves paper that has been all over the ...
111
votes
9answers
75k views

How to come up with research ideas?

As a very new researcher who is exploring the best way to generate ideas, some guidance on this question would be very helpful. I have found that this is NOT easy. Ideas seem to pop out of my ...
110
votes
13answers
65k views

Only one student answered an exam question - and I strongly suspect he cheated

Today we (professors + teaching assistants) proctored a midterm exam for a class of about 80 students. There was undoubtedly a "hardest" question on the exam, since nearly the entire classroom of ...
110
votes
10answers
16k views

PhD Student : Publish Paper with Wife?

I am a PhD student, working on Applied Math while my wife is a software engineer. I plan on going to academia after PhD and will start to job hunt soon. A few weeks ago, I thought of an idea that ...
110
votes
11answers
28k views

Why is plagiarism so harshly punished?

I realize why plagiarism is morally wrong and punishable. This is not a question about why it is wrong. This question is about why plagiarism is dealt with so harshly compared to other violations. ...
110
votes
14answers
29k views

Why do researchers sometimes use extremely complicated English sentences to convey their meaning?

I will begin with a disclaimer, I am not an English native speaker, but I can speak fluent English and understand English in almost all research papers I read. However, occasionally I come across ...
110
votes
8answers
16k views

What makes someone deserving of a Ph.D.?

Few days back while attending a thesis defense, one Professor was asking the defender why does he think, he deserves the degree. I was wondering since then, is there really any general answer for that?...
109
votes
9answers
31k views

Is it reasonable for a professor to ask students to stay 30-45 minutes past scheduled class time every week?

I'm currently in a class in my major that meets for 50 minutes 3 times a week. Meanwhile, I'm a member of a campus club, unrelated to my major, which meets right after this class one day. My ...
109
votes
9answers
28k views

“Dressing down” to impress in academic settings

I came across this highly-upvoted comment on reddit (15,300 karma) by /u/Semi-Hemi-Demigod The CEO of the company I work for said that it's not uncommon for programmers to be asked to dress down ...
109
votes
11answers
25k views

Why do Americans care so much about recommendation letters?

In Europe, we judge students based on their work and abilities. How are their grades? Do they have relevant work experience (TA/RA, maybe part-time industry work, etc)? What projects have they done? ...
109
votes
6answers
22k views

What can I do when some people stole my master thesis work and published it as their own work?

Google scholar suggested a paper for me to read, I opened it and boom it was my master thesis work. My work was based on Arabic language but they claim their work is based on Telugu language. Even ...
109
votes
15answers
32k views

How to approach a student with bad hygiene?

I teach engineering at a community college in the US. I currently have a student with very poor hygiene. He stinks pretty badly, has obviously greasy hair, doesn’t change his clothes frequently, and I ...
108
votes
16answers
54k views

Student caught cheating when leaving class after handing me the exam

Usually I am quite clear that cheating and plagiarism are unacceptable. Although every semester I have to deal with several cases of plagiarism, I had not expected students to brazenly cheat in exams. ...

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