I am physicist, I do research in theoretical biophysics, and I just got a permanent position. I am still collaborating with my former postdoc advisor, with whom I already published, and we are about to submit a new paper.

When I was a postdoc, the best thing for my CV was to be first author. It is not entirely clear to me what would be the best thing now for my CV. Should I aim at being last author, corresponding author, or still first author?

I have asked this question to people working in different scientific areas, and got very different answers.

I am a first year master student and I am working as a student research assistant with one of my professors. He is nice and very competent. Moreover, I am supervised by a Post-Doc. A few months ago they asked me to do some things related to my work since what I had done was not completely correct. I was upset but went over it since it was the very beginning and what I am doing is completely new to me. Today I had another meeting with them and it seems to me that I disappointed them again since I have to start over again (more or less) and the professor asked the Post-Doc to supervise me more during this phase of the project.

Have you ever been in such a situation? Being wrong in more than one occasion even if the advisor asked you to do something (somehow guided you)?

I use a “bonus program” for train tickets, which (allows me to buy tickets with lower fares and) provides for each ticket some “points” which are worth around 2% of the ticket value. I make use of this also when I travel for academic purposes (otherwise the funders would need to reimburse a higher amount). However, for each reimbursement I feel the moral obligation to explain that in some sense I actually paid less for the ticket than what is on the receipt.

How should I deal with this situation? Is there a common practice regarding this? (I guess some institutions may have official policies regarding such situations because many people who are traveling often take part in such programs.)

I wrote to a professor (let’s say Prof. X) in a US university (cannot disclose the name) for an internship over the next summer. Prof. X is happy to have me work with him.

The university has a program for interns (that takes students through the J1 visa program) but the dates do not match with my home university’s summer break schedule and I cannot overstay. I asked Prof. X about this and whether I could work as a student independent of the program. He’s not sure if he can help me with the visa process if I don’t come through the program but he said that he’s looking into it. I also sent a mail to the program manager’s office 2 weeks ago but they haven’t replied back.

Also, I cannot apply for a J1 visa without a source of external funding. My country does not have any government scholarships to fund such research internships. I’m unsure of asking Prof. X for funding because I don’t know the proper etiquette in the US and if it’s polite to ask for funding. I could make do with personal funds, but it would be a big help if there were some external funding.

My questions –

  1. First and foremost, is there any way I can help Prof. X with looking into possible options? I feel bad about not being able to do anything from my side right now.
  2. Should I ask Prof. X if funding is available? If it’s not impolite to do so, how should I phrase my request?
  3. Are there any scholarships in the US that I can apply to that would fund me (I have a very good resume)?
  4. If the university is not able to provide a DS2019 for the J1 visa to students wishing to work independent of the program, what other visa options do I have and would they also need external funding? I know that the F1 visa is not an option as that requires enrollment in a university.

Edit 1 – My home university’s summer break starts and gets over a month earlier than the specified dates of the program at the US university. I will not be allowed by my home university to register for a semester more than a week late.

“Library” in this context means the papers/books that you have in program X (Zotero, Mendeley, etc.) forming the literary core of a project or topic.

Is there an already-established method to automatically get the latest citations (from papers in your library) or new publications (from authors in your library)? I picture something like having a “Latest developments” panel in the program X showing a list of the newest items which could be of interest according to your library.

I have never seen or heard of something like this and it might well just not exist. However I can see how this could be something very valuable for researchers looking to optimize how they keep up with literature, so maybe there is an app already out there which I might have missed so far.

With so many American universities upgrading their academic buildings with state-of-the-art classrooms that have advanced technology, eg, capability to record lectures and post them on websites shortly after, why don’t these universities consider utilizing similar technology to catch in-class cheating on exams?

Implementing a procedure where the classroom exams are videotaped and audiotaped could reduce cheating dramatically, in turn reducing any huge headache cases that department chairs and university deans would have to deal with.

If appropriate notice is given beforehand, I don’t see that such procedures violate any privacy laws for students.

Or is utilizing technology to catch cheating a really impractical idea?

ETS, the organization that administers the GRE exams, already videotape and audiotape their exams, at least in American test centers.