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.

Hot answers tagged

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 ...


58

Unless your field has a very high publication rate or your publications so far are mostly part of bigger collaborations (neither of which seems to be the case), you seem more than ready to defend your PhD. And this is what I recommend to do: Finish your PhD as soon as possible without getting into disputes with your advisor. You seem to overly value your ...


31

Almost all universities in Canada have a disability support services office. You should contact them. They will discuss the situation with the student and the examining committee and recommend a solution - probably something similar to what you have suggested in the comments.


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 ...


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 ...


13

There are institutional rules when it comes to a PhD, which (almost) always includes that you can't get a PhD without an advisor. In that case, your second "option" (finish without an advisor) just does not exist. You could get a different advisor, but since you are in your fourth year, you should be pretty much done by now. In that case, changing advisors ...


9

While I generally agree with the advice given by the answers here (just finish the damn PhD and then go on doing something else, possibly working with someone who you think is thinking more like you), I think the answers here are sweet-talking an often overlooked, very problematic and sad fact in modern academia: Some big-shot PIs have an obviously unsound (...


8

300 words will be about 30-50% of the page. Such a large chunk of text seems substantial, so it's better to place it in the body of the paper. In such situations, in the caption I usually just state what's in the figure, followed by "see text for details". And then I don't care if the text spills to another page.


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 ...


8

In computer science, perception of novelty varies greatly by subfield. In theory, they would consider a new algorithm a novel contribution. In other subfields like bioinformatics or compilers, a new application of an algorithm to a problem would be considered a novel contribution. In Human-computer interaction, improving our knowledge on how people interact ...


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 ...


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 ...


7

Let the copy editor deal with this. That is, after all, their job.


6

I think that your friend needs to find a way to get advice to the examiners about things they can do. This should probably come from someone in authority, such as a department head or dean. Even the student's advisor might be a good source of such a reminder, but the administration has to be behind it. The basic idea is that it should be the responsibility ...


5

A few sentences copied out of the papers reviewed in the literature overview before the main text of the thesis? I'd be rather surprised if that doesn't happen all the time.


3

I would avoid breaking a table that does not need to be broken (that is less than a single page). It is much easier on the reader instead to have some blank space in the text and turn the page. This is especially true in a thesis, where there is strong emphasis on clarity over space economy. (Theses tend to have wider margins, spacing, etc. versus printed ...


3

Your situation has the first thing I would try built in - ask your other adviser for help. Your committee probably communicates with each other, even if they're in different departments at the same school. Tell the adviser who is responding that you're held up because the other adviser hasn't replied, and see what they suggest. If they are indeed in ...


3

Anyways, how bad of an idea is this if it is a bad idea? This is a matter of balancing your own intellectual interests with your career goals. In terms of career goals, not only is it probably not so bad, it's actually probably a good thing; it looks great at this stage and later on if you have experience in multiple areas, as this will increase your ...


3

let me introduce you to my friend the impostor syndrome. In all likely-hood you are behind but not incompetent. From my experience, almost all people I interact with in academia have something that is past it's "due date". I think you need to take a deep breath and remeber that what you're doing is dificult and you should expect some (if not a lot) of ...


3

Look for other magazines that don't require such a letter. (Do they all?) Find a professor that you can talk to. Or a postdoc. Or a visiting scholar. Some won't give you time of day, but some will be OK for a conversation. Then maybe talk about what you've done that was interesting. (Make some notecards and then be able to show/talk about the topics on ...


2

Plagiarism is representing the work of others as your own. There may be patent restrictions on your work (I don't actually know), and there are copyright restrictions on published material. But if you use ideas and cite the sources, then you aren't plagiarizing. Science, in fact, works by extending the work of others. We just give them credit for that ...


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 ...


2

How to complete PhD? Work on that extra idea/topic you want to finish up your Ph.D. with independently, or together/with the help of someone who's not your advisor. This is: Allowed. Legitimate. Often looked favorably upon. That's not to say your advisor will necessarily like it - he might and he might not - but you can always try and present it as the ...


2

I'm working peripherally with a woman who is deaf that is not an ASL user this year. When we need everyone to rapidly understand each other, we hire a captioner We use one who is present in the room. She's very good. There are other web-based services that do much the same thing. If your colleague is new to deafness, I suggest that something amounting ...


2

It's not really about if you have mentioned the work before (don't get confused by the instructions), but that the work itself was done before. So stick with the past tense for the situation here. In general*, the past tense is safer than present or future. Probably 95%+ of the time you should be in past tense when writing a technical report. And if ...


1

Your university may have specific guidelines for this, which compel you to make a specific choice. In the absence of those, I would say that this is a matter of personal style. So you can choose whichever style fits you best. I personally find it most pleasant to write any piece of work, whether it is a single conference paper or a cumulative dissertation, ...


1

My advice in the short term is to separate your current research topic from your broader research interests. You can maintain a large set of research interests, and even take the initiative in reading papers on these topics, or exploring the area, even when your current research topic (optimization in lists) is not satisfying to you. Then, you can look out ...


1

An emplyer won’t necessarily be concerned with the topic of the thesis but how you functioned and completed it. Most employers look for capability and capacity...


1

I would probably follow roughly the following steps: Read the conference paper thoroughly, and decide how it relates to your paper. This part is regardless of the details of who published first; it is just a matter of knowing the facts, and clearly figuring out what their work is about, how it overlaps with yours, and to what extent the results are the same ...


1

Writing is too slow and intrusive. What you need is a real-time transcriptionist who will provide a live on-screen transcription at 200+ words per minute. https://www.chs.ca/services/speech-text-transcription-cart-communication-access-realtime-translation http://stenoknight.com/index.html (New York City, but a very informative website with videos of the ...


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