83 votes
Accepted

Is it ethical to get some help from Stack Exchange for my research as a PhD student?

Yes, it is ethical to seek, accept, and use help in a dissertation. The only difficulty in accepting help from others, and especially on sites like this, is giving acknowledgement to those who provide ...
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  • 270k
66 votes

What if I made a mistake in a paper and now I got a minor revision?

You should always mention this! If you don't, then the entire manuscript becomes suspect. The reviewer has no way of telling what else you changed, and would be forced to recheck the entire manuscript....
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  • 105k
59 votes

Frustration with machine learning and deep learning research

As I wrote in this old answer, "it didn't work" is not the end -- the end is knowing why it didn't work. The caveat with AI/ML is that things are moving so quickly that "nobody got time ...
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  • 52.7k
59 votes

Is there a single example of an outsider considered a "crank" publishing a ground-breaking result that was found to be correct (in the last 30 years)?

This answer takes the following liberties: (1) The field is experimental, not theoretical. (2) The person had legitimate affiliation and wasn't amateur, but was publicly decried as being a crank by ...
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58 votes
Accepted

I just realized that my published papers are based on a buggy version of my dataset (due to a SQL error). How to proceed? How to tell my advisor?

Oh no! This is bad news for sure, but try not to panic. The main thing is to rerun your analysis with the corrected dataset. Hopefully, you have been organizing your work in such a way that you can ...
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  • 52.7k
48 votes

Is there a single example of an outsider considered a "crank" publishing a ground-breaking result that was found to be correct (in the last 30 years)?

Note: As Federico Poloni pointed out, the OP requested an example from the last 30, and my example below is from ~70 years ago. This was careless on my part so I apologize. Nonetheless, I think my ...
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40 votes

What level of audience should one aim for in the introduction of a STEM thesis?

My answer to this question is always: Write the thesis for your past self! What I mean is that you should write the thesis (especially the intro) in a way that if you would have read it when you ...
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  • 36.8k
39 votes

How could I share my concern about university ranking with a potential supervisor?

It's not a good idea to talk about ranking with a potential supervisor, because it can easily offend (example). This is for a few reasons: Some professors genuinely hate rankings. The ranking is not ...
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  • 105k
39 votes

My PhD supervisor is starting a formal procedure to remove himself as my supervisor

We don't know the details, of course, but in the end you do not have a right to be supervised by a specific professor. If a professor does not want to be your supervisor (any more), then there is ...
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38 votes

What are parameters I can use to compare two researchers' work in Pure Mathematics?

Go and talk to them (each one separately), and have a conversation about your interests, their interests, and what kind of Master’s thesis projects each of them might be able to supervise you to work ...
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  • 171k
32 votes

Extreme pressure due to constant demands for results is causing health problems

First, talk to a medical professional about pain and migraines. Second, find a way to schedule breaks in your day. Working more isn't the same as working better. In fact you can actually inhibit clear ...
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  • 270k
32 votes

Is there a single example of an outsider considered a "crank" publishing a ground-breaking result that was found to be correct (in the last 30 years)?

Research into mRNA-based therapy, including mRNA-based vaccines, was for a long time not considered positively by much of the scientific establishment. The word crank goes too far, but it appears the ...
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  • 40.6k
27 votes

What to do when a section of a published paper has a section which contains similar results as mine?

Simultaneous discovery of research ideas is an entirely normal occurrence in academic research. It happened to me several times over my career so far, and I’m just one guy — some versions of this ...
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  • 171k
26 votes

How can a developer of fundamental software components best get the credit they deserve?

Create a culture where evaluation of researchers is done by expert judgement rather than crude benchmarks.
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24 votes
Accepted

When should I cite a paper?

I thought that if I take some information from a paper and use it in my paper, then only that paper should be cited. Can someone please help me to clarify it? If you take information directly from ...
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  • 46.1k
22 votes

What are parameters I can use to compare two researchers' work in Pure Mathematics?

It's complicated. This exact same problem is encountered when universities have to hire a new professor, choosing among several candidates. The only satisfying solution people have found is having a ...
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21 votes

Team member has done the work but won't write it up - what to do?

This person may just like to do one thing rather than the other and might not feel competent in writing. You've apparently given them space to do this. But, it also seems like you don't have a team, ...
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  • 270k
21 votes
Accepted

Where to find papers when Google Scholar and libraries fail?

If you are at a university, you can go to your library and request the article through their document delivery service. This is a service available through every university library I know of, and a ...
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19 votes

How do researchers keep up in the area if they're in a hot area like machine learning?

Frankly, you just accept your limitations at some point and find a healthy pace. It is utterly impossible to keep up with everything. Personally, I have found that having a schedule for reading ...
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  • 5,516
18 votes
Accepted

Do professors in pure mathematics hire non-PhD research assistant?

In pure Mathematics, there is less need for research assistants. The typical jobs of an RA such as conducting experiments, wrangling data sets, doing literary search, are not there. Research in pure ...
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  • 5,442
18 votes

How to convince team members we need IRB approval?

In my experience in the US, it is rarely up to researchers to determine by themselves that their research needs full IRB review when it involves human subjects in any way. Additionally, "exempt&...
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  • 70.1k
17 votes

Frustration with machine learning and deep learning research

It's no surprise that many promising ideas don't work out. Indeed Maybe this idea is simply not doable for the current task. For a related story in mathematics, see What to do when you spend several ...
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  • 24.4k
17 votes

How could I share my concern about university ranking with a potential supervisor?

The ranking of the university should be quite irrelevant to you as an individual: what matters is what you do. In other words, there is good (and very good) research done everywhere, and there is bad ...
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  • 20.5k
16 votes

How do researchers keep up in the area if they're in a hot area like machine learning?

A lot of the work even in a fast-moving area like ML is pretty derivative and incremental. If that's your area of expertise, you can probably scan and dismiss a lot of it pretty quickly as not that ...
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16 votes

Where to find papers when Google Scholar and libraries fail?

Kindly ask all the authors that recently cited that paper ... at least one of them must have a printed copy or a pdf that can be shared privately with you. Start from here to look for all citations ...
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  • 7,354
15 votes

How can a professor avoid becoming a manager?

Embrace the power of no There are plenty of junior to mid-career positions in academia that do not have any serious management component. Consequently, it ought to be possible for an academic to ...
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  • 46.1k
15 votes

Is there a single example of an outsider considered a "crank" publishing a ground-breaking result that was found to be correct (in the last 30 years)?

I'm adding another answer since it's fundamentally different from the other one I've written, being arguably not by an outsider, but it was groundbreaking and happened within the last 30 years. Li ...
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  • 105k
14 votes

Are you allowed to do scientific research on a mental disorder, if you have said mental disorder, and it is not registered in the DSM-5?

Whether or not a disease is listed in some manual is irrelevant for whether or not one can or should do research about it. For example, COVID-19 wasn't listed in any general medicine equivalent of the ...
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14 votes
Accepted

Pursuing a less exciting PhD research topic at a top-ranked university VS doing more interesting research at a lesser-known university?

I like to think of pursuing a PhD as an apprenticeship with the goal of becoming a researcher. As others have suggested, it can be quite difficult and having interest in a topic can help, ...
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  • 1,579
14 votes

I just realized that my published papers are based on a buggy version of my dataset (due to a SQL error). How to proceed? How to tell my advisor?

Don't worry, everyone makes mistakes. Identifying and correcting mistakes is a crucial component of academic research and developing new theories. From my experience, as long as you correct the ...
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  • 4,092

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