264 votes
Accepted

Is it appropriate for a professor to require students to sign a non-disclosure agreement before being taught?

No. It’s not appropriate and this is an obvious, blatant abuse of authority. I have a word in mind to describe this professor, but unfortunately am not free to disclose it as I am under an NDA. (It ...
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  • 169k
236 votes

Advisor professor asks for my dissertation research source code

One of the reasons Science has been so successful is that scientists treat knowledge and tools as public goods. We don't hoard knowledge, but rather we write papers, share techniques, offer ...
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185 votes

Should I send professors money for illegally downloading their books?

With that in mind, would it be appropriate to simply send those odd 10 dollars to the author of the book that I am illegally downloading? First, I would be concerned about your legal exposure. You ...
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  • 51.8k
156 votes

Is it appropriate for a professor to require students to sign a non-disclosure agreement before being taught?

He may or may not be "protecting his ideas", but, in fact, teaching has as a goal the dissemination of ideas. If one wants to keep secrets or have proprietary stuff, don't pretend to teach a friggin' ...
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  • 80.9k
126 votes

Should I send professors money for illegally downloading their books?

I find the moralistic tone of some of the other answers a bit distasteful, and also unhelpful. It’s pretty clear to me that you didn’t come here to ask for a general lecture about the pros and cons of ...
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  • 169k
109 votes

PhD student, issued contract at year 3 which will sign over intellectual property. Is it legal?

Legally, you can't be made to sign a retrospective, retroactive contract. Professionally, if your supervisor or the university person responsible for the CASE studentships decided to be obnoxious ...
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  • 25.6k
107 votes
Accepted

Is it appropriate for an undergrad student to ask a professor to sign a non-disclosure agreement?

I don't understand most of the current answers, which mostly assume you want technical advice without paying for it, but requiring an NDA. If this is indeed what you want, I agree it's a bad idea. ...
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89 votes

Is it appropriate for a professor to require students to sign a non-disclosure agreement before being taught?

I don't know what your university regulations are, but there must be something in there that says that a professor cannot refuse teaching to their students, no matter what you sign or don't sign. It'...
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87 votes

Advisor professor asks for my dissertation research source code

Ideally in this situation you would make your program publicly available. Giving others access to this code does not prevent you from using it, and will help you build reputation within your field. ...
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  • 1,292
77 votes

Advisor professor asks for my dissertation research source code

As someone who works in scientific computing, I agree with what others say, and would likely take it a step further. To put it hyperbolicly: Refusing reasonable requests to code used in a published ...
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  • 4,648
75 votes
Accepted

While in Phd I developed a lot of code that I want to turn into start-up. Can I do this?

I'm not aware of any blanket prohibition, anywhere, that say that you can't use code developed during a PhD for a commercial venture - but most Universities in the US will have some kind of ...
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  • 21.1k
72 votes

Advisor professor asks for my dissertation research source code

If you wrote the code as part of your work as a PhD candidate, and were at all considered an employee of the institution as a PhD candidate, then the institution may well own intellectual property ...
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68 votes

How can I sell independently created software to my university?

I would suggest a different tactic altogether: Give them a license to use the software as well as any and all updates for free. Support should not be free but done by others under your instruction. In ...
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  • 689
60 votes

Is it appropriate for an undergrad student to ask a professor to sign a non-disclosure agreement?

Let's see: you want the professor to freely give out their trade secrets on their real device, so that you can build a potentially competing device; and you want the professor to sign an NDA on your ...
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  • 25.6k
60 votes
Accepted

Do I have to acknowledge the company where I started a project when I later publish related research in college?

At least in my field, Acknowledgements are generally regarded a fairly informal mechanism. There are few rules dictating what must and mustn't go in there. However, given that mentions in the ...
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  • 30.3k
46 votes

How can I sell independently created software to my university?

I wrote software on my own time, by my own decision, and with my own resources during my undergrad career at a university in the US I want to go through the same thing, but the head of the department ...
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  • 126k
45 votes
Accepted

What should I do if I submitted an article to a predatory journal?

If the paper has not yet been accepted for publication, you are free to withdraw the paper from consideration. Depending on the policies of the journal to which you submit the article, you may need to ...
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  • 172k
42 votes

Principal investigator requests transfer of GitHub repository with my code to his account

The PI asked me to put the algorithm on Github. Accordingly, I created a repository on my personal account and later added the PI as a collaborator. I am a Github novice user but my understanding is ...
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  • 126k
41 votes

What should I do if I submitted an article to a predatory journal?

aesmail's post is right on. In addition, I would recommend creating some Google Alerts for some unique sentences or phrases from your article as well. Use quotes around the whole text in each query. ...
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  • 48.1k
40 votes

Private company using my dissertation

I think that your best bet is to contact the IP department at the academic institution where you did your PhD: They can inform you about your rights concerning the work you did there as a student ...
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  • 12.7k
38 votes

Is it appropriate for an undergrad student to ask a professor to sign a non-disclosure agreement?

My interpretation of the situation is this: This is not an academic issue since you are approaching somebody who leads some business with some business-related issue. The fact that that somebody is ...
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  • 36.8k
37 votes

Should I send professors money for illegally downloading their books?

Actually, what you should do, if you want to behave ethically, is purchase legal copies of the books you've stolen. This answer has generated a lot of controversy. Let me explain a bit of the ...
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  • 263k
36 votes

Advisor professor asks for my dissertation research source code

A lot of people have mentioned making your code available, and I entirely second that. But to get more specific, put it on GitHub. Public repositories are free, it keeps a version history of your ...
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  • 16.2k
36 votes
Accepted

What can I do with a research project that is my university’s intellectual property?

First, it would be good to know if that is a claim they can legally make where you are. It is possible that it is an empty claim. Second, if it is a proper claim, you should learn how it is ...
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  • 263k
36 votes

Is it appropriate for a professor to require students to sign a non-disclosure agreement before being taught?

The instructor is paid to teach, not write a book. If the book gets in the way of his/her teaching duties, either s/he give up teaching OR give up the book. Moreover, I doubt this instructor can ...
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  • 19.5k
35 votes
Accepted

Would it violate copyright to retype a classic mathematics book from the 1960s using modern notation and uploading it online?

For your own use, you can type anything you like, modify it in any way that you like. There are no restrictions on that sort of thing, as long as it is strictly for personal use. Among other reasons, ...
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  • 263k
34 votes

Should I send professors money for illegally downloading their books?

After thinking about it a bit more, I wouldn’t do this. Here’s a few reasons: The professor will have to waste their time trying to decide whether or not to accept your offer, and surely they have ...
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31 votes
Accepted

Do I hold the copyright on test answers?

I think this question should be interpreted according to the goal you have: my goal is to be able to see my answer on an assessment after I have taken it. You could ask a lawyer about your precise ...
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  • 67.1k

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