167 votes

Is "flowery language" frowned upon in engineering and STEM related research?

There's nothing wrong with long words. The real issue with your writing is that it is redundant. "these related works are germane to our present discussion." In this sentence, "...
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  • 3,749
123 votes

Two researchers want to work on the same extension to my paper. Who to help?

Work with both John and Sam on the same paper. You all have something to offer, so pool your efforts and work together.
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  • 40.1k
122 votes

Co-authors request that others do not use "he" as a pronoun - is this reasonable?

This is an entirely reasonable request and you should honour it. It is very easy to write English in a manner that avoids the unfortunate use of 'he' as a placeholder for either gender, and doing so ...
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  • 10.6k
120 votes
Accepted

Is it normal for collaborator to rerun experiments himself?

I don't find that behavior strange at all. If I want to understand problems with algorithms (I don't do experiments with anything other than algorithms) I need to run them by myself and sometimes even ...
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  • 36.8k
117 votes
Accepted

How to deal with an author who worked on an analysis that never made it into the paper?

I had a situation like this come up once, where one person did an extensive analysis that turned out not to be particularly useful, so there was no point in including any details of it in the paper. ...
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  • 19k
98 votes

Co-authors request that others do not use "he" as a pronoun - is this reasonable?

Certainly there are many people in the world who prefer to avoid using gendered pronouns for persons of unspecified gender, so your co-authors' view is not particularly unusual. But there are others ...
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94 votes

Am I conveying disrespect if I omit my gender pronoun from a conference nametag?

It seems to me that the way to signal respect is, quite simply, by literally respecting people’s choice as to how they wish to present themselves to the world. So I’d advise you to take care to refer ...
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  • 169k
89 votes
Accepted

Is it a valid concern that a PhD student runs out of research ideas?

Research ideas tend to grow exponentially. At the beginning, Alex is a student who doesn't know what's already been done -- no ideas (though maybe some interests) As an undergraduate, Alex will ...
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  • 51.9k
80 votes
Accepted

How to handle a colleague who hasn't pulled their weight

When students come to me with problems like these, I very rarely just take the side of the active student against the "lazy" one. If you work in a group, you're both responsible when the dynamic ...
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  • 6,278
78 votes

Professor I am working with asked for my code

You seem uncomfortable sharing interim results with collaborators. That goes against the collaboration spirit and I implore you to share all results. In the future, don't start a collaboration with ...
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  • 40.1k
78 votes
Accepted

Co-author keeps rewriting the article in poor English

This depends a lot on your analysis of their personality. If they are reasonable, then suggesting that you edit the final submitted version will improve the English and make it less likely that the ...
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  • 264k
77 votes
Accepted

Does it make sense to let a colleague know about his repeated misspelling?

Let it go, while the typo is limited to emails. Emails are frequently written hastily and certain typos can be common or made on purpose to type less, or even for fun (I do sometimes this in my ...
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  • 52.5k
74 votes

Can someone else claim that their name should be on our paper because they have been working on the same problem?

Working in parallel isn't collaboration. Unless the other people contributed directly to your paper then they have no right to authorship. Nor would you have right to authorship of theirs. It would be ...
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  • 264k
72 votes

Is it normal for collaborator to rerun experiments himself?

When I was a graduate student, I was working together with another student who implemented a rather complicated numerical simulation. To understand it better, and to do some additional experiments ...
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  • 661
72 votes
Accepted

My collaborator has asked to be only acknowledged in a paper. Should I make him a co-author?

The answer depends on how firmly Y has declined authorship. I don't think it's appropriate to ask the referees to decide on authorship. You cannot list Y as an author without his consent. If he ...
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70 votes
Accepted

Co-authors decided to remove most of my contributions from a Nature paper without my consent

First, take the time to carefully consider your options. From your description the problem looks like a disagreement between co-authors: the behaviour of the corresponding author is careless and ...
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  • 12.7k
68 votes

How to get my independent mathematical research accepted?

Read enough math papers so that you have a sense about how they are written up. Then write your own, emulating the style. Then submit it to a journal. You don't need any degree for this. You will get ...
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  • 264k
65 votes

Is it ethical to submit a paper with the name of a co-author who cannot be contacted?

This is actually the subject of a blog post over at Adventures in Ethics and Science. In general, it seems that several possible actions are defensible. However, whatever action you take, you should ...
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  • 107k
65 votes
Accepted

Is it impolite to not reply back during the weekend?

No it’s not rude, it’s called boundaries and you are allowed to have them. Simply because you are online and doing something else does not entitle anyone else to your response. There’s some nuance to ...
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65 votes
Accepted

Promised authorship was not given; am I supposed to get an automatic acknowledgement?

While we cannot conclusively determine whether or not you would have deserved co-authorship, for the reasons others mentioned (number of authors on the paper, the time you invested into this project, ...
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  • 11.5k
64 votes

Is "flowery language" frowned upon in engineering and STEM related research?

The rule is: Never use an uncommon word where a common word can do the job just as well. This is to make it easier to read your work. You said My intention is merely for the writing to be ...
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63 votes
Accepted

How can I avoid being "the negative one" when giving feedback on statistics?

I would suggest approaching your colleague in a humble and inquisitive way (especially since you're a junior member of the team). If you start the conversation with "your conclusions are wrong and ...
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61 votes

Is writing a research paper on Overleaf risky for plagiarism?

Overleaf is unlikely to be a problem To plagiarize your work, someone would have to find it very valuable hack your Overleaf account (and know it is there they need to hack) or that of your coauthors ...
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  • 8,686
60 votes

How to be a co-author anonymously?

You are clearly in a tricky situation that the usual customs of academic publishing are ill-prepared to deal with. There definitely doesn't seem to be a standard, off-the-shelf solution to your ...
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  • 169k
59 votes
Accepted

I solved their problem. Should I involve them?

If you solved an open problem working independently, the polite thing to do is acknowledge the source(s) of the problem in your paper, and perhaps send a preprint to the source(s). But, if they have ...
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59 votes
Accepted

Can I invite myself to a lab to give a talk?

There's absolutely nothing wrong with making an outreach to a group you're interested in learning more about. Just make sure not to make it too hard of a sell: you could say something like, "I'd like ...
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  • 172k
59 votes
Accepted

How to deal with a complete failure in a group research?

Failure is intrinsic to science: how can you think of exploring the unknown without ever failing? Alas, it's a certain modern, distorted, entrepeneurship view of science that brought us thinking that ...
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  • 52.5k
59 votes

Cannot attend CS conference but coauthor isn't registering

Another possibility is that your "non-academic employment" obviously values your skills - have you considered asking them if they will give you leave (paid or unpaid) to let you present - and it has ...
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  • 27.9k
57 votes
Accepted

How to correspond with academics as a young researcher in high school?

Researchers tend to be very busy advising their own students, and often don't have much free time to commit to supervising others. Recognize that you are asking someone who is very busy to spend some ...
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  • 107k
57 votes
Accepted

How to tactfully refuse to be listed as a co-author

Well, there were a lot of mistaken decisions here, including by the journal to list your name. To answer your title question, you should have, before the paper was submitted, told the group you didn't ...
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