86

I served for a couple of years on the Conflict of Interest Committee of my institution. During that time I learned many useful and sometimes counterintuitive things about the subject. The principles that should guide you in thinking about what to do to avoid exposing yourself to any accusations of policy or ethics violations are: You should avoid putting ...


83

I would refrain from adding this to the written/electronic version of the project report. It's very personal and uses colloquial language that should be avoided in a formal report, even in the acknowledgement section. Having said that, you may still give to that particular teacher a copy with your personal hand-written dedication. Btw, great example of ...


66

I certainly think it could be worded in a more positive and professional way. It comes off a bit salty and as if all your research work was to prove one man wrong. If I were to read your work, I would certainly get a bad initial impression.


50

Whether your friend deserves a grade or not depends whether he was a willing accomplice or an innocent victim. If he was a willing accomplice, then probably both of you failing the class is the best thing you can hope for (at least for most US universities, where there are consequences besides failing if the professor or TA chooses to report it). If he was ...


49

From your experience, what is commonly done for a supervisor to spot freeloaders in a group project and how are penalties handed down? How can I work with my supervisor now (who maybe completely unaware of the situation) to effectively put these people back to work? As somebody who taught many courses with a similar structure to what you described: the ...


48

This is a situation I'm fairly well acquainted with since it is not dissimilar to open source software projects -- which is something I have been doing for more than 20 years :-) It is clear to everyone that people's priorities change over time and that while you may have put a lot of time into leading a project in the past, nobody can expect that you ...


40

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 advisor won't fix the issue). And just repeat that same basic point when he tries to argue/discuss with you.


40

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 down, and it makes you feel obligated. Maybe what I am stating is obvious, because if you weren't interested, and you felt comfortable saying no, then you would ...


40

All of @cheersmate's points are valid, but I will try to put a couple of pros across too - I myself am in this position and have had a very positive experience so far (20 months into a 36 month programme). Some advantages can be: You might get much more hands-on involvement (or offers of support) because it is in the supervisor's interest for the project ...


39

I originally wrote this as a comment, but as I am seeing different opinions in several answers here I feel like I need to write a full answer: Although it could feel cathartic to "stick it" to this teacher (who was clearly quite rude), it probably isn't worth it, and definitely is not worth showing it to this particular teacher. Don't do this. No, it is ...


39

It seems like this will come down to your university's rules and the personalities involved. Still, let's consider: He mentioned by email that university norms require 4 people working on a group project and the Academic Registrar's permission would be required to do it alone. So you were very specifically told, in writing, that you would need to get ...


38

A problem I see here is that this scheme may motivate people to divide the points "tactically". Say our group project is worth 10 points and I only need 5 for my goal (which may be the least passing grade or the best grade or whatever). Then of course I would take only 5 points and give 15 to my collegue (which is more than the project is worth). ...


35

You can switch her to another project if you have the funding for it. What you cannot do is to have her work paid by one H2020 project to carry out work for some other separate project. If that's what your postdoc says, she is right. However, even in your existing project, there should be sufficient leeway to do work on good publications, research etc. and ...


28

I'm just guessing, but she probably has the right of it. I would cease arguing with her entirely but suggest that something additional might be done on the original project that might also result in additional publications, etc. Don't be the bad person here. And, especially, don't find some way to punish her for being both competent and ethical.


25

Bad news is almost always best conveyed: Immediately In person You cannot change that you probably should have said this earlier, but you can prevent it from being further delayed now. So go find your colleague and tell them you are not going to be able to collaborate with them. Probably best to apologize to them as part of this conversation, too. A lot ...


24

I teach a design course. We have a number of checks in place to discourage this from happening. Perhaps the biggest is we give a little practice team experience before assigning real teams. We ask each team member to evaluate their peers on the team. Students are then surprised to find out that their grades for the team portion of the overall grade are ...


23

Here are some of the risks: Small network: established PIs usually have quite a few other PIs and groups with which they collaborate. This is very important not only for good research which will end up in high-impact venues, but also for future career options. Young PIs usually have a much smaller (sometimes nonexisting) network. Busy with other things: ...


22

No. The nice thing about most academic departments is that the bus factor is fairly high such that if an individual PI is incapacitated, there is generally enough slack in the system to compensate. Most funding bodies allow for contingencies. They understand that things happen and that the funding often affects people other than the PI. In the case of the ...


22

I think the question is barking up the wrong tree, to mix metaphors. As you proceed through the researcher lifecycle (Ph.D. student -> postdoc -> professor), your responsibilities will change. For instance, one popular criterion for paper authorship in psychology is that one should have contributed to two out of the following four aspects of research: ...


21

It should really be the responsibility of your professor to secure the required equipment to successfully complete your project; it's not quite right on his part to demand that you pay for any part out of your own pocket. Typically, a laptop is cheap relative to the professor's grant whereas it is unrealistic to expect a student to pay 1k to 2k. After all, ...


21

I like this as an experiment in ethics, but not as an actual grading scheme. If you allow team work, you will have a small number of people getting better grades than they might deserve. And...so what? It’s not intrinsically different from making homework part of the grade, where friends will help each other. Your job is to teach and assign grades you deem ...


20

I don't see an ethical issue if you take a few actions to lessen any disruption it might cause. A scheduled exit that is well publicized and not too soon would be good. Offering to let someone else take over responsibility would be good. Making the tools open source, etc. would be good. You might consider passing on the domain to someone interested and who ...


20

Your lab PI has a vested interest in making sure his lab runs smoothly so that he can do high quality research. That involves ensuring good research takes place, administrivia is addressed (e.g., supplies, bills, approvals, etc), recruiting, and—among other things—addressing personnel issues. As you can probably guess, the last item is probably not the PIs ...


19

Try lots of different things. You've tried one thing, and it hasn't worked. Treat it like any other kind of experimental research. Try new things, monitor the results, adjust your approach accordingly. Some things that can work: use specific examples: identify a very specific problem that they can understand, and show how you're trying to address that ...


19

The only thing you could really do is go talk to the professor and confess. As far as your friend's grade goes, that is up to the professor. If you stole your friend's work then he certainly shouldn't be affected. If he was just helping you (which it doesn't sound like) then the professor might also take that into account. You should expect to get a zero ...


19

It's unclear to me what "gender aspects" means. It sounds like you're assuming it's asking about handling gender in your research, which is a great question since a lot of studies (especially psych and medical) have been done on all-male participants. Some of these fail to replicate in mixed-gender or all-woman experiments. There's also a pretty interesting (...


19

What is a university's purpose in forcing people to work together. The main objective of a group project is to learn how to work as a group. The technical content is less important. We only have one side of the story (yours) about why you didn't join a group, but the bottom line is that by doing an individual project you have not taken part in the main ...


17

It should be immediately obvious to the reader of a CV which papers have been published, which ones are accepted, and which ones are under review. For published papers, use the default citation style in your field (if there is such a thing). For papers under review, I used "Submitted to Journal" when I was a more junior scientist. I have enough of a ...


16

A bit immature and passively aggressive. :) I too would advise against adding the passage as is. Yet, I'd suggest you replace it with something targeting at people who may be reading it, focus on perhaps how to stay true to one's dream and don't give up even faced with adversity or discouragement. Second, would you like to reconcile with the teacher? It's ...


14

The issue you are referring to is called "social loafing" and is a very common problem in teamwork. To fix this, us need to do a number of things but the most important is to shine a spotlight on everyone. When people are anonymous, they tend to do things the would not otherwise do (or tend to avoid things they would otherwise not avoid). So, ideally, when ...


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