It seems there is a general belief that when a university fails to meet some accreditation body’s standards then the university is somehow less than genuine.

Is there any objective proof that accreditation produces excellence in higher education ?

I ask this because I see my university always trying to game the system. Little effort is placed towards the real goal of being a better university. Rather, we merely try to jump through whatever hoop has been placed by the accrediting body. Rather than trusting faculty to have the best idea of how to structure the university (in which we build our careers, so, you’d think you might trust us) we instead restructure things merely on the whim of an external body which does not know nearly as much about what is best for the university!

It seems to me, at many universities the assessment process is largely financial with no real attention to excellence in education. Faculty pretend to engage in the assessment process, but, we don’t really care or respect the process because it:

  1. reduces the autonomy of professors

  2. it has half-informed “experts” trumping the opinion professors who are actually already performing real assessment all the time.

It is by now obvious to me that assessment at my university is actually damaging to academics! Is this a quirk of my institution (which values the input of faculty at a tragically sad rate) or is this common?

My larger question, is there a publication in which a critical review of accreditation bodies and how they fail in their supposed mission ?

Context: I am currently a graduate student in a PhD program for mathematics in the United States but due to personal issues, there is a good chance I will not be able to finish my degree. I do, however, have every intention of completing my doctorate after I take some time off. I have always wanted to live in Europe and this seems like as good a reason as I can find to justify moving there.

My question is regarding the academic system in Europe, especially surrounding doctoral programs in math. In the US, there is usually a set of candidacy exams one has to pass before beginning research with an advisor and the average time frame is 4-5 years. I’m wondering if the same pace is expected in European universities (and I realize that standards vary across countries) and what the general structure of graduate school is like there. In general, I’d like to know as much about the European system as I can since I am very ignorant on the subject. As of now, I am planning on taking 1-1.5 years off to work/save up money and travel. During this time I’d like to begin preparing for graduate school since I will likely not be constantly thinking about serious math problems during my job (and I don’t want to be too rusty). I have only completed one year of graduate school so I am expecting that I will “start from scratch” although I hope this does not have to be the case. I realize that this is a broad question so if anyone is willing to correspond directly with me personally, either by email or other means, I would be very grateful. I am also open to links/resources where I can read up on the information on my own.

I’m more interested in answers from researchers in the field of computer science/electrical engineering. 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?

An ESL speaker (a family friend of sorts) wants me to edit their reference list for a PhD (approx. 11,000 words). They want me to charge them by the word – they read somewhere that £10/£11 per 1000 words is a reasonable fee to pay and that is what they want to pay me. However, it’s not just a matter of simple editing. I have to look up each reference and make sure the correct details are referenced. Every other reference has the wrong place of publication, or page number or journal issue (and sometimes even the author and/or date) which makes the work more difficult and time-consuming.

Would this be more of an example of copy-editing as opposed to simple proofreading/editing? What is a suitable price to charge them? Should I charge per hour or per x amount of words?

Thank you!

So I’m planning to answer with a mixture of apply for postdoc or go to work in a industry in this field

some answers have recommended to answer what will we get out of you with amongst other things, publications – is this not too cocky to answer with publications?

Also is it to cocky to say I am hoping it will open up new lines of inquiry? or not?


In a few weeks, I have to make a presentation on my research. When conducting my research, however, I made a small mistake. Unfortunately, I do not have the ability to conduct the experiment again, and I am not sure how to go about acknowledging the mistake in my presentation. All of the tests I have been able to do suggest that this mistake did not impact the results. Furthermore, my research was in physics, and the results conform to well-established, theoretical laws. I know that it is only right for me to acknowledge, but I fear that all of my research will be judged poorly because of this one, simple mistake (that I deeply regret making). How can I go about presenting this? Are my fears warranted?

I’m a career professional in the data science field and spent my career focused on information systems and data visualization.

I recently wound up with an adjunct professor role at a local institution. At first things were fine, but now there is a strong pressure for me to publish ‘academic works’ in scholarly publications and I’m not even really sure what that involves.

I don’t necessarily do a lot of dedicated “new” research of anything novel, I just have a deep understanding of the industry and how to apply the practice to fields that others often over look. But, I don’t think a really good tutorial on how to do something is a scholarly article.

So for someone who has never written or even read a scholarly publication in their life, and has no idea how to get involved in this, where do I start?

What types of articles merit publication?

Can I do critiques of industry practices? Or case studies? Or do I have to start running double-blind experiments with different businesses to keep my job?

I applied to a junior faculty position in a certain university. They asked me to provide a list of recommenders with the following requirements:

  • Each recommender should be a professor.
  • No recommender can be someone with whom I wrote a paper.

The second requirement rules out not only my Ph.D. advisors, but also most professors who know me as a researcher. I thought of several ideas for recommenders that meet both these requirements:

  1. Professors who meet me regularly at department seminars. They can (hopefully) testify that I can ask good questions. But this is only a small part of being a good researcher.
  2. Professors whose courses I took as a graduate student. They can testify that I can learn well. But again, this is only a small part of being a good researcher.
  3. Professors for whom I did some technical work, e.g. computer programming (for research purposes); same comment as above.
  4. Editors of journals for whom I reviewed a paper. They can (hopefully) testify that I can write good reviews; same comment as above.
  5. Editors of journals in which I published papers. They can (hopefully) testify that my papers are good. But, the fact that they published my papers already shows that they think it is good.
  6. Professors for whom I worked as a TA. They can (hopefully) testify that I know to teach. But for this, it may be much more relevant to bring recommendations from students (which I have).

What other options do I have?

My PhD supervisor is co-editing a Journal Special Issue, in a good journal, even if not top-ranking, with double blind peer-review (three reviewers are asked for the review). And I’m tempted to submit a paper (which fits with the topic of the Issue).

I’ve recently obtained my PhD, and I see that in order to apply for prestigious grants (such as the ERC grants) a requisite is “having produced at least one important publication without the participation of their PhD supervisor” (ERC starting grant).

In this case, it would be a solely authored paper (not invited by the Supervisor but submitted to blind review).

Is it worth to try and publish it there? When the paper is evaluated by a judging panel, will the fact that the Issue is edited by my supervisor be a negative factor?