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77

Do not sign any document you are not sure about. Do not sign a document that assigns property to someone else unless you are getting fairly paid for it. Your PhD advisor cannot force you to do anything unless you have agreed contractually to do it. Very probably the work you did as a PhD student belongs to your university, and not to yourself or your ...


32

I'd like to add to Buffy's answer and some of the comments: It does happen that the difficulty is in the paper rather than the one sitting before it. I've had a situation where our Master student couldn't figure out how to get an algorithm from a paper working. Neither could I. We decided that they should go on and use a different approach. I later on met ...


31

In most cases, discrimination on the basis of disability or illness is wrong and in many places it is also illegal. This applies in places where PhD students are considered employees and in places where they are not. However, there are certain exceptions. If the disability makes it impossible or unreasonably costly for the student to conduct their duties, ...


27

For the International System of Units, the units of measurements are defined by the SI brochure. For the degree, unit of plane angle, and the degree Celsius, unit of Celsius temperature, the SI brochure at p. 133 and at p. 149 uses a circle and not a zero. However, at table 8, the circle is rendered with an "o" (probably they didn't have the circle ...


26

As you (presumably) continue down the academic career path, you will be buffeted by all sorts of "helpful suggestions" that span the range from ignorable noise to microbullying by those in positions of authority over you. Editors wanting picky little formatting edits, some good some bad. Reviewers with weird comments. Granting agencies and ...


25

If you sign a document in which you promise to complete unfinished projects, it will become much harder for you to refuse a request to do that, since you will be refusing to do something that you promised to do. Now, whether what you signed constitutes a legally enforceable contract or not may be debatable, and may depend on whether you are receiving ...


23

Unless the PhD is a demanding in-lab work where there is danger to the student or their colleagues via their health condition (which does not sound like it, but we do not know), there is no legal reason for the potential supervisor to reject. As much say the other responses. Nonetheless, I would be wary of forcing myself on such a supervisor. Unlike a normal ...


22

Yes you can ask, but whoever you ask, make sure you check with your advisor first so that you understand the requirements. The answer might be "do it yourself" of course. But more likely is that, while they leave the task to you, they might point you to some resource that will help you do it. One principle that is important in teaching is to give ...


18

First off: You can't be forced to do anything in any situation where you are walking away (*). This implies that when you are asked to sign a document, you can decline. You can also decide to sign it, but you should ask yourself (and the other party) what's in it for you if you do. It's a negotiation, and that means both sides should strive to get something ...


18

Yes, it is completely wrong to use ˚ as a degree sign. The reason is that ˚ is U+02DA: RING ABOVE. It is not at all a degree sign; instead, it is (semantically) the ring above the A in Å. The correct character is °, U+00B0: DEGREE SIGN. This is almost the first time I have seen someone misuse U+02DA: RING ABOVE as the degree sign. However, it is very common ...


14

The question is sufficiently vague that I'm not sure why everyone is assuming that your advisor has set you with a goal to implement something from a paper and no one else can touch it because it's a learning experience for you. Of course you can ask for help from your group - that's why we work in groups. You should definitely ask your advisor who could ...


11

First of all, in the US it is unambiguously illegal to discriminate against a student with a disability, including a medical disability, as long as the student is able to meet academic standards with reasonable accommodation (such as delaying quals a few months). It is also illegal to discriminate against a student who had medical problems in the past on the ...


9

There's a single Unicode character "℃" which could save you having to think about all this.


7

Don’t sign At least until you have had some proper advice. I haven’t seen the document and IANAL but there is a difference between what the University or PI might assert is its IP and what actually is. This matters because you say you still want to get a PhD and the work you have done in the last 4.5 years might be useful to you in that. You wouldn’t be the ...


6

This seems rather unfair to you, but let’s put that aside. It seems like the crux of the issue may be whether the word complete means “finished” or “total.” If I were to ask you to give over the “complete” data for a project, is that the finished data or all the data you have? I am not a lawyer, but to the best of my knowledge the way to deal with this ...


6

You are being asked to sign a legal document. You should seek legal advice from a lawyer, if you really are interested in protecting your own self-interest. Even with regard to IP, your name should still appear on any resulting copyrights or patents, as the producer of the IP. You should not sign a document you are not comfortable with. You should certainly ...


5

I would try to get out of it without signing anything. It doesn't matter if you don't expect to use what you did in the foreseeable future. Basically, when you enrolled in this PhD, everything you did was covered by some existing rules to which you agreed explicitly or implicitly when you entered the PhD program. Asking you to sign something now doesn't seem ...


5

What's going to happen if you don't sign? If nothing much, then refer them back to the University's policy document on IP. I'm wondering why they need this. If it's not already covered by agreement then just say no. Either they own the IP and rights or they don't. If they don't then why do they think they have the right to demand it? Why assign to a ...


4

Your immediate question concerns whether to sign a Data Transfer Document and/or to add a clause or substitute a different document. My advice is to take a step back and sleep on the paperwork and if possible show everything to a good friend who is COMPLETELY UNINVOLVED. Get some outside perspective and bear in mind what YOUR best interest is. Earlier ...


4

You wrote:"My fund comes from a different department completely unrelated to my former PhD adviser." When you accepted this funding, you probably signed a document with a lot of fine print. Check this fine print. I wouldnt be surprised if all your code and IP might actually belong to them already. It is rare that you receive funding from a ...


4

This is hard to judge without knowing a lot more about why there is a lack of funding. It might be a local problem, in which case you might be fine. But if the funders generally don't value this field or even this line of inquiry within it then you could wind up in trouble. In that case, you need to be prepared to be flexible in the lines of inquiry that you ...


4

We do not know your local laws and culture, so beware that advice here may be inaccurate. He makes micro-bullying or threatening statements occasionally, but this public humiliation seemed very serious and crossed a red line. It is the pattern of behavior, not the specific example you gave, that is what you need to report. A recording is not necessary to ...


4

This depends on you and how you prefer to work and how able you are to carry on alone. Some people thrive on that. Others find it impossible. Of course, the delays might just be explained by the fact that there has been on commitment yet on either side. They may respond differently once you get a formal relationship. In some cases it is possible to ...


3

Yes, you should ask for help Assuming you are more-or-less proficient in coding, it is possible (even likely) that the problem is with the paper itself. In that case you will definitely need your supervisor to help figure this out. This is part of the reason why I constantly disagree with people saying "post the source" for academic papers. There's ...


3

You have a say in the wording of the doc. In my experience, there is a bit of back and forth about what these docs say pursuant of a signature. I'm with most of the people above, I'm not sure walking away from 4.5 years of work when you are trying to build a future is sound but only you know the circumstances. Short of hiring a lawyer, I'd simply go through ...


3

This should definitely be reported and, as it seems nobody has done it yet, the ethical choice for you would be to do so. Of course, it would have been much easier to gather evidence if the incident was reported at the time when it happens instead of a year later. However, as Joel pointed out in a comment, there are several witnesses and (by a simple ...


2

I'm just repeating here what others have said already, mostly, but I will add it again to be sure. Don't sign anything. Not that the legal implications are terribly important anyway; but it will be an important psychological step to snap out of the strange state of mind you are in. You are not a serf beholden to some job you worked at for a few years. You ...


2

Mark already talked to the department chair and the graduate chair (though he might be called differently). He needs to continue this conversation urgently. He should also invite them to solve the problem instead of asking them to support his solution (even if in the end, they amount to the same). I would advise to ask the chair to find a new advisor, which ...


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