Say I am person A who has built up some degree of expertise in mathematical topic X. Person B works on mathematical topic Y and realizes she needs a result from topic X. She asks me if I know how to prove this result. I work for a bit and prove this result, which person B works into their paper.

Now, I’m confident about my work on topic X, and am confident that person B is not manhandling its use for topic Y – i.e., they’re very clear about the assumptions my result uses and what it implies. However, my knowledge of topic Y is not very deep, and it would take a significant amount of time for me to comfortably grasp exactly how the paper’s use of topic Y works.

Is it then dishonest to proceed as an author? Is it expected that every author knows every aspect of the paper?


I am writing my PhD thesis within the natural sciences (ecology), following the typical structure of introduction, literature review, material & methods, results, discussion, conclusion.

For some of my analyses I am using a method which was developed about 90 years ago and has become the “standard” method in my field. I’d like to outline the origin and development of that method, along with some downsides that have become obvious in the past decades (and which I am trying to overcome by extending the method).

Is it appropriate to do so within the methods section (instead of just having a plain description of the methods I have applied)? Or would I rather include that in an extra chapter in the literature review (where I am so far rather focussing on describing the existing knowledge rather than methods)? Or even put it in the introduction?

From what I’ve read, an employer can’t legally fire you for attending jury duty, although they don’t have to pay you.

I’ve been called before but never had to serve more than a day. However, a grad student friend of mine was called, had already deferred once before, and is concerned that if he has to serve for an extended period, it would set his work back so that he couldn’t graduate in time, and his department told him that he can’t request another extension.

Can you be dismissed from a program for fulfilling your civic duty?

This is in the US, and the university is public if that has any bearing.

This question pops up every time I write an article (in the computer science domain), and I am unable to find a British English style-guide providing a proper answer.

Where should citations be placed within the sentence and its punctuation?
Where to put white space?

E.g., which options are preferable:

  1. More coffee is always better. [XY]
  2. More coffee is always better [XY].
  3. More coffee is always better[XY].
  4. More coffee is always better.[XY]
  5. According to [XY], more coffee is always better.
  6. According to XY[XY], more coffee is always better.
  7. According to XY [XY], more coffee is always better.
  8. According to XY, [XY] more coffee is always better.
  9. According to XY,[XY] more coffee is always better.
  10. According to XY, more coffee is always better [XY].
  11. According to XY, more coffee is always better. [XY]

So I’ve been thinking a bit about the pros and cons of the different types of STEM PhD programs, and I came up with this summary:

Experimental research:

Pros: fun to do experiments in a lab, whether it’s classical experiments or new experiments that could generate interesting results for a paper

Cons: the student will lack originality and independence of thought, essentially following what his advisor / P.I. / lab supervisor tells him to do.

Computational research:

Pros: practical knowledge, learn computational methods that are very easy to apply and very effective

Cons: there will be extremely tedious computations to keep track of

Theoretical research:

Pros: ask research questions that the computational and experimental PhD students wouldn’t ask or care about, and these questions can be exciting to think about

Cons: very hard to make progress towards building a theory, the research questions can seem like abstract nonsense to the experimentalists and computational researchers

Are my pros and cons accurate?

I’m more interested in answers from researchers in the CS/EE area. Having said that, readers in a different discipline observing such phenomenon are welcome to contribute.

I know of a few ‘famous’ individuals who have copious number of articles appearing in top journals/conferences every year without fail. Looking at their CV, it seems that they have a 100% success rate at these top venues.

Question: as we know, the review process is random at times, with ‘dumb’ reviewers rejecting papers for no good reasons. This in turn forces us to look for an alternative or perhaps lower ranking venue to publish our articles. Given this fact, how do the said individuals have such a consistent record? Is there a level one can get to where every idea is gold and every presentation is such that even a dumb reviewer can’t recommend a reject? Or is it the case that there is a ‘back door’ or the individual or institution reputation is so bright that any reviewers are obligated to accept the article?

What is their strategy?