At my college there is a tendency to devote time for teaching software training courses. It seems that the college bought vouchers for xyz professional exams to encourage students to take the professional certificate on the xyz framework, which would improve students’ chances for employment.

Now I am starting to question the integrity and benefit in doing so, for several reasons. To name a few:

  1. In computer science and engineering, labs sessions cover and use advanced frameworks, and these sessions usually aim to support theoretical aspects of the course. Training courses are not like this, and may not be academic in nature.

  2. Dedicating most lab/tutorial session to something other than practicing concepts covered in lectures would sacrifice student understanding of such concepts in favor of gaining practical skills.

I would really appreciate other’s opinion on this.

Edit: I posted this question to know is it advantageous for academic courses to include commercial software training courses? Or is it consider unethical since academic excellence would come second to technical training?

When I started my “quest for knowledge” several years ago I began in an already ill defined-field which was on the borders between science and philosophy but as I progressed I drifted further and further into something I can only classify as “something pertaining to many sciences but not really a part of any one field”. It became some even I-can-not-tell-what field of science and although I have completed my quest and came with a sound paradigm it doesn’t really pertain to the scope of any of the journals in my area which I use in my references. Or to be more precise, it pertains to all of them but only “a little bit”, this is why selecting the proper journal seems so difficult now.

In order to solve the problem, and actually thinking this is a solution, I decided to write a small e-mail to journals explaining my situation and what I have done. It was something like a 200-300 word abstract so they know what my paper is about and then asked if this is within the scope of their journal. None have answered me!

Has anyone had a similar experience? Did I do the right thing writing their editorial boards these e-mails? Did I shoot myself in the foot by doing this? Any suggestions what the effect of these e-mails could have been (e.g. they think I am a crackpot, they just deleted them, they put me in a “forbidden list”)? Am I doing something terribly wrong here? Can anybody give me advice as to how I can handle the situation from now on? Do such e-mails effect my chances of publishing there negatively or outright stop them?

For example, an interdisciplinary PhD program that I am reading about says this about their program:

“The program differs from the regular departmental offerings in science mainly by its interdisciplinary approach and emphasis on mathematics and physics, with less emphasis on descriptive material from any one discipline.”

What does descriptive material mean here?

Throughout school I have achieved grades(C/B), but since leaving university I have stepped up my game. I have worked at google (as technician) , worked on numerous project outside of work to train myself as a software engineer.

I realised however, that if I’m to have a chance at working for one of the big tech companies as a software engineer – I’m going to need a master degree. So I’m looking to apply, but only to the top universities here in the UK.

Oxford – Computer science
Cambridge – Advanced computer science
UCL – Computer science

Currently working as a junior developer, BSc was in Computing(2:2).

What are my chances?


I am getting a little worried about my PhD application. I submitted it three weeks ago with reference requests going out to Prof A and B. Prof B wrote to me the same evening to say it would be done asap, and Prof A didn’t respond, but that’s fine. Three weeks later and Prof A has written back and completed the reference, though nothing so far from B. I have written to B with a polite reminder but they haven’t written back. How long do people take on average to get these things across and should I be concerned? I know these academics are very busy but at the same time this is the only thing holding the application up. Should I write to the convenor about my concern if this goes on for a couple more weeks? What other ways could I politely encourage a response?

I am checking this Journal:

Usually in the Journal’s guidelines for authors one can find the reference style of the Journal. This is not the case though. The guidelines link sends me to a general IOP (Institute of Physics) website that has guidelines for authors, referees, etc.

When I clicked on the authors section I found among all the information this:

Be sure to check on the journal homepage whether your choice of journal specifically requires page numbers, article titles or a particular reference style.

Also, I found in this page this section: Reference labelling systems, in which they say that any of the 2 labelling systems: Vancouver or Harvard (numbers like this [1], or the name and year of the publication).

From checking individual papers from the journal I knew that the labelling system used was Vancouver, since all references are cited with a [number]. However I do not recognize from the References the specific style. If you can recognize it from this example, it would be great:

I appreciate if you help me finding the reference style.

I am just finishing up an MSc degree in Canada and am looking to begin sending inquiry emails to potential supervisors regarding available PhD positions (also in Canada). However, I am unsure how to approach one specific scenario:

I am looking to email a potential supervisor who I have worked with in the past although not very closely as he has never been a direct supervisor and is at a different university. However, he still knows most of the pertinent information that I would typically include in an inquiry email (e.g. current school/program, research topic, GPA, etc.). He also knows that I am aware of his current research and his recent publications as my research is closely related and we have completed fieldwork together that is related to both of our topics.

I am unsure of how formal to be or what to include in my email given that we do have somewhat of a pre-existing relationship. Typically I would try to speak in person with anyone that I already know but given that he is at a different university that wouldn’t be possible without advance planning.

Any guidance on what to include in an email asking about potential PhD openings and hopefully arranging a meeting to discuss any opportunities in person would be much appreciated!

I’m a postdoc in Computer Science. Recently submitted a paper, co-authored with my adviser. I’m the first author, corresponding author and am primarily responsible for the content.

Today he gave me a list of unconvincing arguments why we should withdraw. When I refused, he said he’ll use his legal authority to withdraw it. Does he have any legal authority to do this?

No ethics policy that I’m aware of links authorship rights with employment status. From what I know a co-author may chose to withdraw his co-authorship, but cannot ask a conference to withdraw the paper against he will of other authors. Anyone encountered such situations?

I have not signed any legal agreements related to publication policy.