In a published research paper, the author has cited a thesis/paper, which is not available online. The question is, when I’m writing my paper and I need to cite the corresponding unavailable paper/thesis, what should I do? Should I cite the original material even though I haven’t read it? Or the paper that cited the unavailable material, say in its literature review section?

Issues related to climate change, mitigating it and making humans deal better with its negative consequences are super important to me. I am not an environmental scientist though – I’m an engineer. I have a varied background and experience, which fits in well with a discipline I’m very interested in – robotics. I feel like pursuing a PhD in robotics, researching its application in environmental science would be good for me and for the field(s).

Now, the problem is I don’t know the exact problems (in environmental science) that I could propose to work on in my research proposals. I really want to have a conversation with someone in the field about this, but I don’t know how to go about this. I’m one year out of school now, so it’s not like I can swing by a relevant professor’s office and drop in for a chat. On the other hand sending a “cold-call” email also seems not fully appropriate, because asking “What kinds of problems do you have that can be solved by technology?” seems far too general.

So the question is – what is a good way to acquire this kind of knowledge?

Is it possible to submit two papers to the same conference which are citing each other?

Both papers were accepted and they are both very related, so I think to cite the papers in each other, when submitting the camera ready version. Is this allowed or is it not a good idea?

Is it possible that thesis committee first signs off on a thesis and later discovers some weakness (not plagiarism or academic dishonesty, but weak sections or incomplete tables) and rejects it. I am talking about US and time gap may be a couple of years. The defects found in the thesis do not invalidate the main idea, but are more related to incomplete references and data tables.

As an academic, my papers (I assume) have been cited. But only once do I remember a publisher, on behalf of a writer, contacted me to ask if they could reused (or republish) a chart I had created in one of papers – for a textbook. I gave them my permission and that was the end of it.

Now I am about to publish my first (non academic) book. I still have footnotes with citations, maybe 5-10 per chapter, but it never occurred to me to ask permission, as long as the citation was proper. The only time I asked for permission was when I printed a comic strip by a popular author.

So – for the other citations – do I need to get permission to publish a quote, or a small excerpt? (for instance if a sentence with an industry fact or statistic).

When referencing to another work in a scientific paper, do we cite the paper or its author(s)?

This question is intended to clarify the conjugation of the verb that follows the reference — especially in these cases:

  • One author, two papers:

    Jane Doe (2015a, 2015b) list-s the very specific conditions under which…

    -> lists (singular: referencing to Jane Doe) or list (plural: referencing to both papers)

  • Several authors, one paper:

    John Doe, et al. (2015) claim-s this and that.

    -> claim (plural: referencing to the multiple authors of the paper) or claims (singular: referencing to the single paper).

As an undergraduate, I did some research in a group which is now being compiled into a paper. My advisor at the time is now contacting us wanting feedback and help writing it. I am especially important to the effort, because I am the only one who knows some of the results (and proofs) well enough to be able to explain them and structure the paper around them.

However, I am just beginning a PhD, in a completely different field than my undergraduate research. This comes with a new set of challenges to focus on, including that I have to find an advisor here within my first year. I would like to be primarily focused on making the most of my PhD program and thinking about current research, rather than having to worry too much about this old research I did as an undergraduate, which I do not feel will impact my career. Even if our research gets published (which it might not), because it’s not in my current field it does not seem that it should be my top priority.

In summary, I do not think that assisting with the writing of the paper is in my personal best interest. However, I also understand that I have some obligation to the research group I was in and the research we did, and that it could be rude and irresponsible, even unethical, to drop out of the picture entirely. What exactly are my obligations to writing this paper? What is the most ethical thing to do in this situation, which also preserves my interests as much as possible?

Finally, if I should avoid working too much on this paper, how do I communicate this to my undergraduate advisor and to my fellow researchers? It would be rude to cut back on the work without any explanation.

(I looked but could not find any duplicate of this question.)