If you need help with online teaching or other challenges in academia arising from the COVID-19 crisis, we have prepared this FAQ to get you started.

New answers tagged

5

The more important question is whether this would be accepted by your professor. If you cite the earlier work it isn't plagiarism and you put the professor on notice about what you've done. But it would be much better (safer) to get permission first. Whether it is technically self plagiarism or not depends a bit on whether you have, in some sense, ...


3

The purpose of the background check is to find out if you are likely to abuse children on campus, assault your colleagues, or steal from the university. It is not related to academic integrity. Academic integrity is evaluated by reference checks and transcript checks. Convictions are decided by law courts, not university committees. You have a ...


2

Mistakes of this nature, when handled appropriately at the time, are part of the learning process and you can move beyond them without additional penalty. I assume you don't make such errors now, intentionally or otherwise. There are a few exceptions, however, as when applying to a national intelligence organization and being asked specific questions. You ...


4

It is fine to ask. Life goes on as best we can manage. The situation is worldwide, of course, and we don't yet see the end of it. In a letter, you could, if you wish, say you are sorry if the request is coming at a bad time and that you understand the global situation. You may not be able to get a reply in time, of course, or at all. But there is no ...


2

Contrary to other answers I am not sure whether the university actually intends to act as badly for you as this letter looks. You where supposed to start in the middle of April and that is not going to happen. The university also doesn't know right now whether you could start in the middle of June instead or whether the situation will last for years so they ...


-2

They rescinded your job offer. Offer letters are not legally binding in the US. You don't have a job anymore and there's nothing you can do about it unless you can convince the PI to hire you. Also the PI is a genuinely shitty person for bailing on you and they're not gonna be less shitty in the future so I would not work for this person. (Obligatory ...


-1

For dealing with this kind of issue, I recommend looking at the rules for bullying and harassment from both ends. It is settled law that rules on workplace bullying protect both junior employees from senior employees, but also protect senior employees from junior employees. Moreover, to sustain a complaint of workplace bullying and harassment, this ...


1

My personal take is to try to salvage something from this situation. I think, and as others answers here conveyed, that the university simply won't pay you right now if it can't. I would reply saying I understand the touch circumstances and their need to postpone the start of your employment. Suggest to postpone your start-date in the contract to June so ...


3

Surely this is a case of force majeure. The university made the offer in good faith but circumstances outside its control mean it cannot proceed with this offer. America, like many other countries, has closed its borders. If you are an American citizen, you have an absolute right of return if you can find a ship or a plane to take you there. America is ...


17

This is not a forum for discussing legal questions, and in any case it seems to me that to try to pursue the matter through legal means would lead you down a rabbit hole from which your academic career would never emerge in one piece. As others have said in the comments, a postdoc position obtained through legal coercion is not one worth having. Since you ...


27

A signed offer letter is normally a valid contract. Usually it is the only contract document. Only someone who has read the offer letter can give you a perfect answer to this question. They have announced their intention to break the contract. That is illegal unless the offer letter says otherwise. Moving on is probably your best option. There are ...


4

They seem to claim that they aren't obligated, but that may not be a valid claim. But only a (local) lawyer can answer definitively. It might be worth pressing them outside the legal system, pointing to the letter. But a signed offer letter may be considered differently from a signed contract. There might be some emergency legislation that permits this or ...


-1

First, given the wording, this is the editor desk-rejecting your paper, and you are confused because you are new to all that. If the editor somehow implied the reviewer wrote that, ignore his recommendation and run away, submitting elsewhere. Otherwise, consider that if the paper is in fact as weak as the editor claims it is, you are likely to be unable to ...


1

I don't think it's unusual for a reviewer to suggest another journal if they are recommending rejection for the reason of "not strong enough for this journal". I try to do this myself; sometimes I receive an article to review that strongly suggests the author is not very familiar with the relative strengths of journals in the field, so this comment may be ...


17

First: it's likely you mistook the decision - it's not a reviewer's comment, it's the editor's comments, and they are desk rejecting your manuscript. In this case it is decently common for the editor to suggest another journal (especially if it's published by the same publisher). I would not find it a red flag if they did - it is after all only a suggestion ...


6

This answer is on point. I will only add that it is common in some fields for editors to make such a suggestion; in such cases they offer to transfer the manuscript to another journal by the same publisher. This practice is followed by a very reputable journal in my field of materials science/engineering. The second journal is new, doesn't even have an ...


85

I am quite new to academia, is the above considered normal practice No. This is abnormal and unacceptable for a reviewer or editor to suggest this. Any advice of what I can do? If the journal you submitted to really is legitimate, contact the editor and escalate this. Simply point out that the review you received pointed you to a predatory journal, and ...


2

Don't get between the student and the parents. That's a complicated and stormy dynamic and [you] can't do anything but harm there. You may not like it, but it's really not something to get involved in.


1

Adding this datapoint, which I interpret as saying the answer is yes, with caveats. Press release by the Dean of Students of the National University of Singapore When such offences are committed, the NUS Board of Discipline, which comprises student and faculty representatives, will also conduct its own disciplinary proceedings. It will consider ...


3

When the police investigation is done, and the person has receives a sentence, it might be appropriate to inform the university, but that is a job for the police, if the law in your country says so. In no way is it right to tell anyone else than the police about something like this. If you do, the university might want to do some investigations themselves, ...


0

When you really want to make sure that nobody can claim academic misconduct, add a note to the thesis that you got typesetting help. The reviewers should review the content of the thesis and not the typesetting details and probably do not have any problem with it. Then nobody can claim you were not honest when you undersigned that you did not use any help ...


5

I know a univerity library that checks books upon return, because in the past students have copied relevant pages for themselves and then blacked out the information so that they could learn and have good grades but deny others of learning and getting good grades. So if the PhD candidate did this to sabotage the flatmate who is also a student at the same ...


9

It's fine to review a paper that you have previously recommended for rejection (assuming you gave reasons rather than just dismissed it). The editor took your comments into consideration when deciding to seek a revision and I would expect the authors to respond to your concerns in their revision. However, the second question is definitely grounds for ...


11

I think whether to report this incident to the university, and how, depends crucially on the relationship of the flatmate to the PhD candidate and the university. If, for example, the two are both PhD students with the same supervisor or working in the same lab, this could be considered a workplace harassment issue. The flatmate should report it to their ...


15

In my experience, such a report would only hurt your own reputation. If Bob the PhD candidate, damaged possessions of Alice, his flatmate, and keyed her car in non-university housing, and you report it to the university, it is highly possible to have the response "please report the incident to the police" in return. There are always many bilateral ...


1

Many departments have some official description of the educational goals, grading criteria, or similar, for the thesis. Do these educational goals or grading criteria include anything about learning scientific/professional typesetting, or something less specific like “presentation” that could be understood to include typesetting? (I’ve certainly seen these ...


20

I don't know how it works in all countries, but in all cases, the university does not have the jurisdiction to investigate in such a situation. You accuse the PhD candidate of misbehaviour off-campus but this needs a process to be confirmed and only the police can start such a process. In Germany, such behaviour affects the PhD candidate when he wants to ...


82

No, it would be inappropriate to report misconduct to a university if the misconduct has no relation to the university, except that the perpetrator was a student. If the misconduct occurred on campus, involved university equipment/resources, or involved an official supervisory relationship, then it might be reported.


4

I don't know whether it would work in your situation, but I have often found that disagreeing in a questioning manner helps defuse more than disagreeing directly when dealing with this sort of 'build up' because explicitly disagreeing makes a person defensive and more rigid in their position. For example, instead of saying "Prof X wasn't being rude", you ...


-2

Ah. Yes. I am acquainted with things similar to this... Yes, being "on the spectrum", is a sort of disability, manifestly. That is, one has trouble understanding the subtexts. And, specifically, one would not understand how other lower-status/lower-privilege people would receive one's comments/assertions/proclamations. I myself have come to think that ...


7

Yes. Typesetting is not the same as contributing to the contents of a document. It is not unethical to hire a typist either, who would take your handwritten essay and produce a properly formatted document using MSWord, LaTeX or any other typesetting/processing program. The contents (and associated ideas) is expected to be and should be your own. Note ...


-1

Is paying someone to fix LaTeX issues in one's thesis ethical? No, it is not (but you should ask your advisor), but you should mention (in acknowledgements) that you did this. Another important consideration : if you want to get additional degrees (e.g. a Master's or a PhD thesis) you'll better improve your LaTeX skills. They will be useful later (even in ...


2

Learning LaTeX requires significant time and effort. By not learning LaTeX to the point where you could overcome your problems on your own and draw your own figures you have had more time to develop and polish your thesis compared with your peers. If you have not acknowledged the aid you have purchased you have given the grader the impression that you have ...


0

It's your book. You are the one who should proofread it, not anybody else. You should take sole responsibility for it, but also, you should then receive sole credit for it.


1

No. We were required to buy a draft release of a new text book, written by the professor. Corrections were handed out on photocopies. The typsetting was bad. The binding was poor. The book was $250 back in 1997. And we didn't get a 'new' copy with all of the fixes. Just remembering this event... and we (as students) all made fun of the situation and how ...


1

A long time ago, one of my professors used lecture notes that were intended to become a textbook. He offered a bottle of champagne to the student or team who reported the most errors in the manuscript. This clearly removed the issue of a grades-for-services trade, and still encouraged us to spot and report errors. The bottle was good enough to try for, yet ...


7

Unless the thesis itself is about LaTeX and its usage, I'd see no problem, and I've never seen rules against it. But if we're talking ethics... The university should provide a complete and usable LaTeX template for thesis and other works, so no student would need to waste time creating or adjusting a template. This removes a lot of the effort on both ...


19

I also see no big problem here. Generally, there is nothing wrong with accepting help for any part of your thesis, I would even encourage everybody to discuss and refine their work with others from the field or the group. A paid service is nothing I would usually recommend, but it is also possible. You however must make the support (paid or not) you got ...


3

Proof reading is work. Pay them. It's probably worth checking with your faculty if they have arrangements with any proofreading services for publications since these will already exist. If you want to reward students with work experience in academia then you should request a casual work contract that is managed by your institution's HR department (never ...


8

When publishing an article for a scientific journal, you provide the text (and formulas, and figures) in tex format, and they take care of the layout and typesetting. Alternatively, you have to use their template to fit your article in it. I don't see why anyone should consider latex formatting as a part of the student work for a thesis, apart from strictly ...


26

This is quite common. Some Universities in the UK are hiring private companies to improve the presentation of grant proposals, which includes typesetting, proofreading, professional preparation of graphics, and in many cases editing the text. Academics are encouraged to also use these companies to help improve their papers before they are submitted to a ...


99

I do not see any unethical point in this. You were supposed to make an original contribution to your thesis in terms of your research. With respect to writing, you can take help from your friends, supervisor, or anyone else (free or paid). In our university in New Zealand, there was a dept. which used to charge a small fee to fix language issues for ...


1

You seem to be concerned that inclusion of experimental results will mean your dissertation isn't original. Yet, you could include such results whilst alleviating your concerns. For instance, you could present experimental results and explain that those results were carried out by your co-author. You could also include a fresh analysis of those results or (...


2

I would review the paper and point out that the very practical limitations of the work are not clearly stated. The ultimate goal of this research is clearly to construct an autonomous weapon system which can function on the battlefield. Now, all warfare is subject to law. This includes the principle of proportionality. The principle of proportionality ...


2

To me, the answer is quite simple. The matter at hand is not considered unethical by a clear majority of the scientific community (if it were there would be rules against it). Consequently, whether or not you consider it to be unethical is of little relevance, your views should not impact the ability of the scientific machine to make progress. So your ...


32

In practice, you will receive great feedback from a very small proportion of the students (and this subset will consist almost entirely of students who will do well on the course regardless). But even the weakest students can and will make perspicuous observations, or point out gaps in your explanations, that will be helpful. And then many students will be ...


1

I would hand out a draft of the book to the students (or the relevant parts only) and award bonus points towards the final grade for every valuable suggestions that helps to improve the manuscript. I did this several times already and the students appreciated this. Probably relevant: I used the bonus points only for a "pass of fail" grade, so the students ...


3

In grad school I took a class where we test-drove a textbook draft (not the professor's, but a colleague's). We used a tool where the PDF was available online and students could highlight parts of the text and post comments or questions or feedback about it. Everyone could see and respond to each other's comments, including the textbook author and the ...


7

Summary: ethical concerns come in degrees. Some are sufficiently standardized in the academic (or even general public) world-wide that violating these standards means the paper should be rejected on ethical grounds. Other ethical concerns are more personal in the sense that a reviewer may hold them personally, but they are not so widely agreed upon/...


11

I have done this in one course (letting students proofread my lecture notes for extra credit) and might be doing it a few more times. A few caveats: Keep the stakes low. This should be extra credit that can take an A- to an A, not a source of points that lets students max out their grade without writing exams. There are several ways to do this: You can make ...


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