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122

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


121

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 avoids needless sexism in your writing.


120

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 implement the method from scratch. It's not that I do not trust other people's code, but if I want to understand all the mechanisms well, it's much easier to ...


114

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. However, we did feel that having the analysis done did lead (indirectly) to a better understanding of what we were studying. Moreover, we also felt that the ...


98

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 who see no problem with this. There are plausible arguments on both sides, and this site is not the place to rehash them. You can see some of the debate on ...


92

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 to people using their preferred pronoun as they chose to list it on their name tag (or using common sense if no pronoun is indicated). And don’t insult or think ...


88

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 start to have ideas based on what he reads and his experiences. Many of these will be off-topic, already done, or impossible. Then Alex will spend time doing ...


76

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 doesn't work. And keeping the group dynamic healthy is something every student should learn. I know how difficult it is, I've been both the lazy student and the ...


72

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 with this model, I decided to re-implement it myself. I was not able to get the same results as the other student. After a thorough review of my code, I found a ...


70

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 has firmly refused to be an author, that is the end of it. If Y has simply indicated that acknowledgment is a sufficient form of credit, but left the door open to ...


66

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 disrespectful, but it doesn't look like a major breach of ethics. Turning this into a legal battle might cause a lot of trouble, especially in a large ...


62

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 here's why" you're going to set a combative tone for the rest of the meeting. There may be reasons that they interpreted the data the way they did that you're not ...


61

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 make sure to Document your efforts to reach your co-author Let the journal editor know at submission time what's going on RetractionWatch is full of stories ...


60

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 problem like some kind of registry for anonymous authors. However, with a bit of creativity there might be a path forward. I suggest the following: Agree to ...


59

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 not contributed towards the project, it would be inappropriate to include them as co-authors. Co-authorship is properly used to recognize joint work, not as a ...


59

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 to visit your group, and I could give a talk if you'd like." I don't think most professors would be put off by such a request.


59

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 science should always be successful. For my master's thesis, my PhD thesis and part of my subsequent research, I worked on an experiment that eventually didn't ...


59

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 been known that some people say in their intro "I am here thanks to the grace of X...".


56

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 of their limited time on something that (1) may or may not be interesting to them, (2) is not part of their "official" professional responsibilities, and (3) is ...


54

tl;dr: Version control is harder to set up, but makes it safe to work on the same file, and makes it easy to track history (i.e. previous versions). Pros and cons of syncing files Yes, the biggest advantage of things like Dropbox (I use it as well for backuping and synchronizing my files) and SugarSync is their easiness. They may work for collaboration ...


54

Be specific and brief, with a clear action item. bad: My name is X and I'm interested in Y, and I'm hoping you'd be interested in working with me. slightly better: My name is X, and I'm interested in Y. I read your recent papers on Foo1, foo2, and foo3, and I was wondering whether you thought Theorem eleventy-seven in your paper on foo2 could apply ...


54

I am an undergraduate student who has developed a novel new model which according to my PI (principal investigator) will have a high impact. Great! My PI assigned a grad student to supervise me. Supervision consisted of meeting once a week to update him on my progress so far. Sometimes he would provide certain helpful suggestions(none that are actual ...


54

That is why I have a rule that for each homework a group of students is selected "at random", and asked by the TA to explain what they turned in. The grade of the interrogation replaces the homework grade. Rationale is that I really don't care (too much) if they copied from the Internet, got it in an obscure book somewhere, or worked it out in a group. I ...


54

In other words, can I go to a postdoc looking to talk and ask questions related to our field? It depends on what you mean by "can", as well as the culture in your field and department. If you are asking whether it's an ethical and reasonable thing to do, then the answer is certainly yes. You can talk with and ask questions to anyone you'd like, provided ...


51

I really enjoy working with you. I hope you'll think of me if an opportunity arises where I might contribute to one of your projects.


49

As with the another answer, I couldn't help but notice the almost literary way in which the Bob character is depicted: Clearly, his decisions are driven by spite and malevolence only Unless the OP is Bob (what a twist!), she is really not in a position to make that claim. In my experience, in 99% of all human behavior, after sufficient scrutiny, one ...


48

Many times such a book is dedicated to a broad subject with many sub-subjects and experts from each sub-subject are invited to write the relevant topic. This is actually very good. The potential downside might be that different authors might have much different writing style and flow and it can lead to a highly non-uniform book if the editor does not pay ...


48

At the last one of these conferences, the vast majority of people did include the PGP. I suspect your refusal in this might come off more of rejecting the idea of PGPs rather than choosing not to have your own, which is at least mildly rude. You describe yourself as looking like a cishet man (I don't have to worry about it because I already conform to ...


47

The answer is strongly conditional on discipline and, to a lesser extent, country of origin. Conventions vary widely, as does the degree to which they are institutionalized. For instance, in some fields (e.g., Philosophy), co-authorship is not common and there is no convention about attribution, so absent an explicit note people are are likely to think the ...


47

Go to a conference/workshop. Ask intelligent questions in talks. Talk to speakers afterwards. (Have your advisor introduce you if you're shy.) Eat lunch with them and their students. Hang out in the hallways. Talk about your research. Listen to other people talk about their research. Listen to gossip. Throw in a few dirty jokes. Grab some coffee, ...


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