I work for a technical company at the interface between engineering practice and research. Since we have to deal with academia on a daily basis, I have seen many calls for “Abstract submission”. Generally these calls are associated with some sort of academic conference that is focused on a particular topic. It is also subject to deadlines and regulations. Several universities, research institutions and even private/public entities might be participating at these conferences.

My question is this: What can you actually get from submitting an abstract? Why do these conferences even request abstract submission? What do they get from it? Why are abstract submissions important and why do people do them?

I received this comment from a reviewer in journal of “Optimal Control Application and Methods”: “The notations need to be added in the revision to add the readability, because many symbols appeared are not very familiar with the readers. For instance, what is the meaning of <…> in (2) and (3)?”

Is it necessary add a nomenclature with a list of used symbols of variables, operators and abbreviations?
Is there any specific position for this section ?


I need some “advice” on my “career”. I study in Brazil and I’m a year away from obtaining my B.A./B.S. in Mathematics (I’m not quite sure about the nomenclature). Here the duration is 4 years.

In 2016 I had to start working two jobs (unrelated to Math) to help my family and that made my 4-year journey into a 5 and a half years journey in which during the process I’ve failed a couple of classes due to attendance. I was able to quit the job this month and from now on I’ll be able to focus only on my studies.

My question: is there still a chance for me to work on my Master’s, Doctorade and so on? And also how much does the fact that it took me 5 and a half years counts? Despite not being able to attend the classes, I consider myself a good student and I know for sure I’m dedicated.

Thanks! [P.S.: I apologize for bad English.]

Is there any good reason why group assignments should be a thing?

It seems to me that it only exists because professors are lazy and do not want to correct as many assignments as they would normally have to do. Or perhaps it may be because the professor is incapable of properly educating their students, and therefore, by handing out group assignments, one can ensure that all weak students pass (or satisfy min requirements to take the final exam) by making sure that they do their assignments in a group which contains at least one smart student.

Apart from that, I do not see a single good reason why they should exist. On the other hand, there are a million reasons why they are bad.

  1. One or a few students usually do most of the work.

  2. Because of 1., it’s hard to judge the individual contribution of each student, and thus grading becomes essentially meaningless.

  3. Even if 1. is not true, that’s actually also a bad thing, because that reduces the over-all quality of the end product. If you have a group with 2 people, a smart person and a dumb person, and they each do 50 % of the work, obviously that is going to be an inferior assignment than one done entirely by the smart person. And why is a poor assignment a bad thing? Because the very purpose of an assignment is to further educate the students as they work through it, and bad assignments are a detriment to this goal.
  4. Group work usually induces a lot of annoying obstacles that would not otherwise exist: scheduling problems (when can everybody meet?), social problems (is everyone socially comfortable with one another, or is there awkwardness, shyness, conflict, etc etc).
  5. What if the students disagree about a particular part of the assignment? What then? Should they decide based on rock-paper-scissors? Maybe a boxing match-up between the disagreeing students?

It’s such a stupid thing to do.


In my related works section of the paper I am writing,
there are two papers by roughly the same group of authors.
Paper A (2015), and Paper B (2014).

Paper B (2014) is based on Paper A (2015), and cites it as a unpublished work.
But for some reason or another Paper B was published first.
(Possibly because Paper A was a more significant work, so was targetted at a better venue with a longer review time, whereas paper B was a relatively minor extension published as a relatively unknown workshop.)

I’m only briefly discussing them in my related literature section.
Do I need to call attention to the fact that Paper B is based on Paper A, even though the dates don’t line up.

I currently have something like:

Paper A (2015) prepared the dataset using methods Foo.
This dataset was uses in the evaluation of the models of Paper A (2015) and Paper B (2014) which were based on the principle of Bar.
Paper B (2014) extends Paper A (2015) by adding support for Buzz.

I currently am writing a paper which uses regressions (from statistics) heavily. The objective is to show (as far as possible) that A causes B.

The main analysis of my paper uses regressions to show that A is correlated with B.

After showing this correlation, I wish to show that A occurs before B occurs so as to give further evidence of a causal relationship. This requires another set of regressions. (The set of explanatory variables changes significantly, so I need to specify the new regression equation.)

Furthermore, I need to show that factors C, D, E mediate the relationship between A and B. (Again, I am much better off specifying the new regression equation. Even if you doubt this, just believe me on this)

How should I go about this?

Option 1: Explain all methods (correlation, temporal precedence, mediation) in the Methods section. Then give all results in the Results section.

Option 2: Explain the methodology for detecting correlation, then give the results. Then explain the methodology for temporal precedence, give the results. Then explain the methodology for mediation, and give the results.

The problem is, no matter which way I do this, I get criticism that the structure is confusing, along with suggestions that I should do the alternative approach. For example, if I try option 1, people say that temporal precedence and mediation only make sense if I detect a correlation, so these analyses should be shifted to the back. On the other hand, if I try option 2, people say that my methodology should all be neatly encompassed in a single Methods section.

I’m curious as to what most people do when they are in a similar situation?

Let’s say that I and a couple of a researchers have made good progress on some work but got stuck on something, say, a biological system that we derived but it’s not quite working the way it should. Would I be breaking any research norms by looping in one of my former professors (in the same department) who specializes in computational biology and can likely help us? Or should I really let the advisor of our group decide on who to loop in for ideas and help?

I just completed my first year at a PhD program at a University in the United States. It’s been a semester since I joined a lab and I’m slightly confused about my decision at the moment. I feel like my academic advisers are not as involved in my project as they should be.

I’m working on a joint project between two professors in a field that is new to them, besides their expertise on instrumentation. Both my advisers are well accomplished in their respective fields but their experience in the area that my project is concerned with is (at least on paper) substantially less (only one publication from the lab so far). Besides, there is only one other graduate student involved on this project while all other group members work in a different area, making it difficult for me to get any help from members in the lab. On top of this, I meet my advisers only once every 2-3 weeks and although they are extremely patient with regards to my queries, their feedback hasn’t been very useful yet.

While I was aware of this situation before deciding to join the lab, I went ahead with the project for its future prospects and overlap of required skill set with mine. It also offered the opportunity to build up a lab almost from scratch with very experienced advisers, which I thought, was great. While I don’t hate working on my project, I’m concerned since I haven’t made much progress and am not sure if what’s happening is normal. Both my advisers are experts in instrumentation, which is a major hurdle in the project (and hasn’t been tackled by any other group yet), but aren’t aware of the current scientific problems in the field.

Finally boiling down to my questions:

(i) I often find myself worrying that the problem I end up working on for the next few years as a graduate student might turn out to be insignificant or turned down as trivial by experts in the field. Am I thinking too much?

(ii) I often hesitate digging deeper into articles in my field (not directly related to my project) wondering if it’s useful at all, considering that I’d be all by myself if I pursue it and would thus stand no chance against other research groups that are actively involved in the field. Is that reasonable?

(iii) Would it be rude to confront my advisers with these concerns?

(iv) Would it suffice for me to get help from another faculty on campus and continue with my project?

I am originally from one country but study at university in a different country. Now, my native country asked me to prove that I study at this university and I want to ask my university to bring me document for that. What is this document used to be called?

Can I call this document “study confirmation letter” or “confirmation of studies”?

I found (here) the phrase “proof of study” ans also “Certificate of Enrolment” (here), “proof of enrolment” (here) but “proof of study” as well as “confirmation for studies” both seems to be for those who are graduated already while I’m still student there. I would like to take you advice for the conventional way (that everybody at the university office can understand) to call what I need.