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228 votes
Accepted

I grade exams together with a colleague but disagree with their grading. What should I do?

Have each person grade different questions, not different students. Consistency in grading is important, and it is unfair to the students if their grades depend substantially on the allocation of ...
Ben's user avatar
  • 69k
147 votes

Will declining a research award be problematic for me, or other people?

Don't give in to Imposter Syndrome! Both your reasons are fundamentally not sound. Somebody nominated you for an award. The awards committee thinks you are deserving. You should not refuse the award ...
xLeitix's user avatar
  • 135k
141 votes
Accepted

How to deal with a colleague who won't accept they're wrong

Use impersonal language Hopefully this is obvious, but make sure that your language focuses on the ideas rather than the people. Rather than I don't think you're grasping the subtleties of the ...
user2390246's user avatar
  • 12.3k
130 votes
Accepted

Colleague blames me for not spotting typos when I only reviewed the structure and content

"The only real critique I had on my thesis was that the chapter I sent you had typos. I went through this chapter again and found quite a few. In the future when someone asks you to review a ...
Caleb Stanford's user avatar
122 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.
user2768's user avatar
  • 40.8k
90 votes

Is it okay to work on colleagues' ideas after they leave academia?

Is it okay to work on colleagues' ideas after they leave academia? I'm going to be blunt: yes, absolutely yes. What is the other option? That the progress of humanity should be stifled because you ...
user119897's user avatar
71 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, ...
gnometorule's user avatar
  • 12.4k
66 votes
Accepted

Will declining a research award be problematic for me, or other people?

Will declining a research award be problematic for myself or other people? It's problematic in the sense that it would very likely be a mistake, and undermine the goal that the award is trying to ...
Dan Romik's user avatar
  • 191k
66 votes

Colleague blames me for not spotting typos when I only reviewed the structure and content

You don't owe this person anything, were under no obligation to help them, and everything you do for them is done in a spirit of generosity and kindness. If they don't think you did a good enough job, ...
Ian Sudbery's user avatar
  • 39.6k
58 votes

Colleagues don't congratulate me or cheer me on when I do good work

You're right that many academics (and I suppose not only academics) somehow systematically fail to encourage their colleagues, and do not congratulate their successes. Ideally, yes, at least "...
paul garrett's user avatar
  • 88.9k
57 votes
Accepted

A colleague who ignored my request for a favor is now asking me for a favor. How should I respond?

I strongly suggest that you happily agree to the favor. Happily. It is "in your lane". Every one will benefit. And, you can also say that you are still interested in visiting their lab when ...
Buffy's user avatar
  • 366k
51 votes

Is it ok to go on a swim with your colleagues while on a conference?

It happens all the time, and I see no problem whatsoever. I can understand that you might feel uneasy with your supervisor joining, but nevertheless, I do not think it is inappropriate in any way (we ...
damian's user avatar
  • 5,032
50 votes

The IT department bottlenecks progress. How should I handle this?

This is a partial solution I've used myself, and it assumes a few things: You access your clusters remotely through a connection (like other answers pointed, cloud servers or remote), so where you ...
lucasgcb's user avatar
  • 665
47 votes

Will declining a research award be problematic for me, or other people?

In a comment, you say The problem is I worry that accepting might shine a light on my research not being quite there just yet and people would look at my bibliometrics and think poorly of me, if I ...
Stella Biderman's user avatar
41 votes
Accepted

Should I remind someone of a previous invitation to give a talk?

It's certainly reasonable to send another email just saying that you would really like to visit, and that you would like to take up the old invitation. By far the most likely thing is that the ...
Ben Webster's user avatar
  • 21.9k
41 votes
Accepted

How to reject a postdoc offer from ex-co-author?

It's your life and your decision, and it also seems that you already made your choice with the title asking how to reject the offer, not if you should accept the offer or not. There's no subtle way to ...
Cheery's user avatar
  • 14k
40 votes

How do I professionally communicate to a colleague that I am not interested in helping with his project anymore?

Your project is nice, but I now decided for myself that I can't invest more time in it. I'm too busy with other projects which have priority for my current research interests (so, talking to my ...
lighthouse keeper's user avatar
40 votes

How do I professionally communicate to a colleague that I am not interested in helping with his project anymore?

I think the issue you are facing is an important life lesson I had to learn (just an opinion). I think the real root of this issue is you feel bad. You don't like the idea of letting the other person ...
Adam Johnston's user avatar
36 votes

Colleagues don't congratulate me or cheer me on when I do good work

I think this is just the way academics normally behave. We tend to work in silos. Those in different silos don't understand our work. Those in the same silo just take success for granted. Win the ...
Buffy's user avatar
  • 366k
35 votes

Who should be first author? Theory person or Experiment person?

Shared first authors are listed alphabethically, at least that's what makes sense, otherwise they are not shared first authors!! I'd go with that no doubt. From your comments I would say that your ...
Shake Baby's user avatar
  • 4,082
35 votes

Sending a math paper to a journal and to experts

Pick the most appropriate of your mentors, write to ask if they are willing to look it over for you. Don't send it to "experts" you don't know, and don't send it to lots of people at once. ...
Ethan Bolker's user avatar
  • 36.4k
34 votes

PhD: When to quit and move on?

This can really only be answered by you. But here are some thoughts. There are two doors. One leads to a doctorate and the other does not. If there is no path to the first door, then the decision ...
Buffy's user avatar
  • 366k
31 votes
Accepted

My colleague took my teaching materials to use as their own. What should I do?

Everyone's got a different take on politics, including office politics, so for what it's worth: It's extremely common for members of the same department to share materials for a particular course. It ...
user176372's user avatar
  • 1,868
29 votes
Accepted

Can I offer to help a collaborator to finish a calculation which he's not having time to finish right now?

Yes, you can help in any way you can. It would seem very odd to me if there were a field or situation in which this would not be proper. Of course, if you are taking a course and have been assigned ...
Buffy's user avatar
  • 366k
28 votes
Accepted

How can I have productive meeting with a very prominent researcher?

Rather than put forward your own ideas, which might still be a bit naive (as you suggest), ask for advice. Let the superstar take the lead. If you've read any of their papers, you can mention that. ...
Buffy's user avatar
  • 366k
27 votes

Colleague blames me for not spotting typos when I only reviewed the structure and content

That student's response is obviously unnaceptable and quite rude. You should gently remind the student that ultimately they are responsible for their own work when they submit a document and if ...
Cell's user avatar
  • 446
27 votes

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

Your “friend” is no friend to you at all, and behaved unethically in promising you coauthorship and making other promises that he has not kept, and that it’s not clear he had any intention of keeping. ...
Dan Romik's user avatar
  • 191k
27 votes

Can I offer to help a collaborator to finish a calculation which he's not having time to finish right now?

Offering is indeed fine. However, one thing to avoid is having it come off as an attempt to "steal" someone else's project/glory. If the collaborator is another graduate student, this was ...
Anyon's user avatar
  • 26.7k
26 votes

Colleagues don't congratulate me or cheer me on when I do good work

Try to start a cultural shift in your area Others seem to be implying that this is just "how things are" in academia and you should accept it and move on. It's easier to say that when you ...
user2390246's user avatar
  • 12.3k
26 votes
Accepted

Making friends in academia and building connections

I don't know if this is much of an answer, but it's become more than will fit in a comment. If you just joined in Fall 2020, it's not unusual that you haven't made the kind of connections you're ...
cpit's user avatar
  • 588

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