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121
votes
10answers
17k 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 ...
120
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 ...
119
votes
19answers
35k 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 ...
118
votes
15answers
32k 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
14answers
27k 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 ...
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
13answers
42k 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. "...
117
votes
2answers
21k 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
6answers
18k 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, ...
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
8answers
41k 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 ...
115
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 ...
114
votes
13answers
32k 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
37k 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
27k 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
6answers
11k 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
8answers
9k 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, ...
113
votes
10answers
24k 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
14k 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 ...
113
votes
6answers
14k 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 ...
112
votes
13answers
100k 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. ...
112
votes
11answers
28k 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 ...
112
votes
10answers
21k 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 ...
112
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 ...
112
votes
15answers
29k 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 ...
112
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 ...
111
votes
16answers
36k views

In a yes/no question, student gives the right answer and a 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. ...
111
votes
15answers
28k 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? ...
111
votes
14answers
27k 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 ...
111
votes
17answers
96k 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 ...
111
votes
7answers
21k 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?
110
votes
13answers
43k 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 ...
110
votes
11answers
26k 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
11answers
20k 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 ...
110
votes
9answers
148k 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 ...
110
votes
8answers
15k 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
12answers
61k 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 ...
109
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 ...
109
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 ...
109
votes
9answers
28k 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
27k 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 ...
108
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;...
108
votes
16answers
50k 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. ...
108
votes
6answers
21k 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 ...
108
votes
8answers
13k views

What should I do if my advisor is forcing me to vote on a specific candidate in IEEE elections?

The IEEE holds yearly elections for senior positions in its societies. Every member of the IEEE has the right to vote in these elections, including me. My advisor, however, has candidates who, for one ...
108
votes
8answers
17k 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 ...
107
votes
13answers
43k 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): ...
107
votes
18answers
33k views

Is it okay for a professor to leave the classroom only 5 min past the class start if nobody has shown up?

Last week, because of a subway delay due to bad weather I arrived 15 minutes late to class to find out my professor had left 10 minutes before because nobody else had arrived. Was it okay for him to ...
106
votes
21answers
33k views

How to prevent students from using modified calculators to cheat on exams?

Recently my faculty (mathematics and statistics) and I have been dealing with widespread cheating due to calculators that have been modified so as to have more functionality than is permitted. At my ...

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