I’m currently a PhD student suffering from extreme anxiety after finding some mistakes in my scientific paper 7 months back. I’ve talked to my supervisor about it and he said that those were simple errors that would not affect my conclusions… Something that triggers for my anxiety is the fact that we issued a formal statement to correct them, hence this will be forever on my record. Furthermore, I discovered a ridiculous calculation error in the estimation of one of the parameters that I’m comparing in my paper that would change the looks of three points in my graph (which has around 30 points in total) -and this wasn’t corrected in the statement because the estimation I used, even though originated from a silly mistake, can still be valid depending on how you consider the system. I suffer from constant fear of people thinking that I’m a dishonest researcher and that I fabricated data, because the data that I got from a mistake looks better than the “correct” one, even though the main parameter we show in this particular figure doesn’t change in either case… I’m really against dishonesty of any kind, so this is a huge deal for me.

I know that my supervisor assured me that everything was ok and that he is happy with my performance regardless of those mistakes, however I can’t help but think that my record is “stained” and that I’m a bad person that does not belong in academia. I was doing pretty well so far, but then my entire life fell apart after this. I feel like I lost the ability of feeling excited about my research… I think I’ve failed my life goals and my moral values.

Have someone gone through something comparable in academic life? How did you cope with the constant feeling of unworthiness?

Thanks in advance…

Edit: Differently from the question pointed out as duplicate, I would also like to know how researchers view my mistakes and how can I regain my confidence to carry on with my work..

It is frequently mentioned that PhD students are employed in Europe (e.g. the Netherlands, Scandinavia, etc). I still don’t understand how this affects a PhD program.

What is the difference when one enrols as a PhD student in the US or has a work contract in the Netherlands? Is there any specific difference in responsibilities, expectations, freedom, etc?

Please make a tangible comparison rather than listing various possibilities. If a student enrols in a PhD program in the US or in the Netherlands, how will their work and life be different?

I am currently a graduate student, and for a course I gathered hundreds of thousands of records (not confidential, but difficult to access if you don’t already know about them and know who to talk to) and spent several months cleaning, combining, and organizing them into a usable dataset, upon which I then performed statistical analysis. The project is complete and produced interesting results, but likely I won’t turn it into a paper anytime soon.

I found out yesterday that the professor supervising the course spoke to one of his friends and mentioned my project, and the friend asked for my dataset (the cleaned one I produced, not the raw records) to perform his own analysis. Should I share it with this friend? If so, is there a way to ask to be acknowledged in any publications that result?

The data were originally public records, but I did a lot of work that required years of specialized subject-matter knowledge to compile them appropriately. Are there other risks I haven’t considered? I feel a little uncomfortable being asked to share a large amount of work with an academic I don’t know at all, and while I would like to help advance the field in general, I don’t know what’s reasonable to expect here.

Suppose, someone is out of school for a while but wants to return to the study, preferably a Ph.D.

Kindly, correct me if I am wrong: as far as I know, GRE is a good tool to demonstrate to the admission committee that someone is not flagging as a student.

What are some alternative ways and what are the ways where GRE-score is not accepted?

For the first time, I had to review a revision of an academic paper (I have already reviewed several other papers, but they were all rejected after the first round). While the authors had clearly improved the paper (after the first round, major revisions were requested by the editor (and myself)), several major issues mentioned in the first round of reviews were still not (or not correctly) addressed. Furthermore, due to the improvement in writing and structure, the paper was easier to read, and I was able to identify several flaws or strong limitations that I did not report in the first round. Consequently, I, again, recommended major revisions (while I hesitated with rejection due to the major flaws).

After having submitted my review, I received the reviews of the two others reviewers. To my surprise, both were positive (1 line comment such as “Issues have been addressed and I have no further comment”) and the editor requested minor revisions.

In view of this, I am wondering if I have misunderstood how I should review a paper after revision as I did not make a real difference between round 1 and 2. Therefore my question is how far can/should we go in reviewing a paper? If at each round, improvements are made but new flaws or mistakes are spotted, should we stop mentioning them at some point?
This process might be theoretically infinite. Furthermore, as an author, I know that several rounds of reviews are exhausting and stressful so I do not want to be “that reviewer” (the one who is too picky and who completely slow down the publication process).

A guest editor at a peer-reviewed academic journal solicited me to write a paper. I initially hesitated for lack of time. But the editor’s invitation was courteous. So I sent an abstract, which was accepted by the editor.

I submitted the 6k-word paper a few weeks later, taking care to comply to the submission guidelines (I downloaded the journal’s CSL file for bibliographic references, for example).

I just received a rejection letter. I know an invitation is not a ticket to bypass the reviewers. Still, I am rather stunned. I’ll get over it, but I was wondering how common it is for academic journals to reject solicited papers?

I submitted my paper for publication in a very good computer science conference. When I got feedback for rebuttal:

I had one review that said my work wasn’t relavant to computer networking in any way, and that they couldn’t understand some abbreviations in the abstract like RIPE.

Then I had another who said that my work is very useful to the research community and even asked for a copy of the library I wrote.

Last, I had a reviewer that just told me to make my images larger and to include a better literature review.

I tried to rebut as best as I could, especially against the first review, but knowing that this is a high profile conference, what are my chances of being accepted? It really didn’t seem like the first reviwer understood much of my work.

This question is based around a hypothetical, but realistic, scenario.

The situation revolves around a group-based course in which the main deliverable is a report. Every group member is responsible for the report. The report is graded as a whole and counts for the entire group but individual adjustments in grade can be made by the supervisor based on peer reviews and other considerations by the supervisor.

The issue arises when part of the group fails (due to the report grade) and another part passes the course. Let’s assume the failing students did their part, just not enough to pass.

I am particularly wondering about the fairness or ethics of part of the group passing on contributions by the failing of the group.

I have taken part in many such courses and luckily the issue never arose in any of the groups I was part of. Thinking about it, I have mixed feelings about the situation the failing students (in this scenario) find themselves in.

On the one hand, you could say the failing students did not contribute enough to the report for them to pass the course. On the other hand, placing yourself in the failing students’ shoes, their contributions are used to pass the other part of the group.

Concrete questions:

From a supervisor’s point of view, should only those parts written by the passing students be considered to grade them so they don’t fare on the work of the failing students?

This is almost impossible, you would first have to consider all the work (how else do your know some students won’t pass?) then unconsider (if that’s even a thing) part of it.

One option would be to either pass or fail the entire group, but that might be unfair on the hard-working group members (who do enough to pass if they were in a group of people who as hard as them).

From the failing students’ points of view, it might seem unfair because their work is used to pass the others. Should those having received a failing grade be entitled to any compensation on the grounds that they did some work?

I’d compare it with starting a company, suppose three people build a company, two people do 40% of the work each, the other does the remaining 20%. While any two people in this case do over 50% of the work, I don’t think they can just decide to dump the other person (this might depend on how the company was founded, but it seems unethical).

How this type of assignment works in my experience

A group of students is assigned a problem for which they need to write a report. The students get a list of requirements and it is up to them to divide the work and make sure everyone does their part.

If a student does very little work, the others can report that so a solution can be found (student has to make up for lack of work or quits the course). It’s mostly encouraged to report bad group dynamics early so something can be done about it (that becomes harder as the project progresses).

The projects often have a tutor assigned to them, sometimes academic staff, sometimes a (more) senior student. Students also review their peers on how they felt the others participated. The tutor advises the one(s) responsible for grading the reports. Based on the report, the tutor’s advice and the report itself, each student gets a grade (according to some rubric).

The courses I have in mind are mainly aimed at this report. The report will be the main deliverable and make up over 50% of the course’s grade. The remaining part of the grade is made up by a combination of individual work and other group deliverables (e.g. presentations or computer code).