This question comes in two parts.

  1. If I am a lecturer in a field (say, Data Mining) and quite stuck in my research, am I allowed to make exam questions related to my research (for undergraduate & graduate students) hoping that some answers may give me ideas?
  2. If I am allowed to do that and suppose that I did, what could I do if a student actually answer my question with a method s/he currently working on his/her own research but has not been published yet (in which I don’t have the means to know of)?

Should I give an announcement or some kind of encouragement the students who actually has that kind of answers to finish their research as fast as they could, so that I can cite their papers to avoid potential copyright infringements and plagiarism?

PS: This is only a parable.

Alice and Bob have co-authored a paper together. The contribution (data collection, analysis, writing) was 100% Alice and 0% Bob, except that the original idea was initiated during a conversation between Alice and Bob. Bob acknowledged several times in private that he did not contribute to the project, but he claimed co-authorship for the idea and Alice did not object to that. Alice spent almost an entire year working on the project. Bob spent less than a couple of hours in total. A manuscript with both names has already been circulated, submitted and rejected from one journal.

Bob is now trying to block the publication of the paper due to a personal conflict with Alice. In the meantime, Bob became envious of Alice’s early successes and decided to do everything to slow down her career, even at the expense of his own publication record. Bob is already tenured and has no pressure to publish. Alice, by contrast, needs more publications for her forthcoming tenure review. Of course, Bob never explicitly refused to submit the paper. But instead of sending it to a prestigious outlet (where the paper would have a good shot) he insists that they send the manuscript to a non peer-reviewed and unknown journal, which would not help Alice’s tenure case. Of course he makes no effort in trying to find an agreement, as he would be happy not to submit the paper at all. Clearly, his decisions are driven by spite and malevolence only and he takes great care into not writing anything incriminating for him.

Is there anything that Alice can do in that situation? Does she have to resign herself to never publishing the paper? What are the risks for her if she removes Bob’s name without his agreement and submits the manuscript on her own?

PS: as a response to Captain Emacs’ comment, Bob’s only contribution was to say “why don’t we study the causal effect of X on Y?” in an informal conversation. Alice did absolutely all the rest (literature review, design of the protocol, data collection, analysis, conference presentations, etc.). But there is no evidence of this, other than the fact that Bob would be unable to answer any question that goes into the detail of the paper.

Alice and Bob have co-authored a paper together. The contribution (data collection, analysis, writing) was 100% Alice and 0% Bob, except that the original idea was initiated during a conversation between Alice and Bob. Bob acknowledged several times in private that he did not contribute to the project, but he claimed co-authorship for the idea and Alice did not object to that. Alice spent almost an entire year working on the project. Bob spent less than a couple of hours in total. A manuscript with both names has already been circulated, submitted and rejected from one journal.

Bob is now trying to block the publication of the paper due to a personal conflict with Alice. In the meantime, Bob became envious of Alice’s early successes and decided to do everything to slow down her career, even at the expense of his own publication record. Bob is already tenured and has no pressure to publish. Alice, by contrast, needs more publications for her forthcoming tenure review. Of course, Bob never explicitly refused to submit the paper. But instead of sending it to a prestigious outlet (where the paper would have a good shot) he insists that they send the manuscript to a non peer-reviewed and unknown journal, which would not help Alice’s tenure case. Of course he makes no effort in trying to find an agreement, as he would be happy not to submit the paper at all. Clearly, his decisions are driven by spite and malevolence only and he takes great care into not writing anything incriminating for him.

Is there anything that Alice can do in that situation? Does she have to resign herself to never publishing the paper? What are the risks for her if she removes Bob’s name without his agreement and submits the manuscript on her own?

PS: as a response to Captain Emacs’ comment, Bob’s only contribution was to say “why don’t we study the causal effect of X on Y?” in an informal conversation. Alice did absolutely all the rest (literature review, design of the protocol, data collection, analysis, conference presentations, etc.). But there is no evidence of this, other than the fact that Bob would be unable to answer any question that goes into the detail of the paper.

A few months ago, I was assigned a task by my lecturer to create a Decision Support System program in a group of three. The task itself was intended as the final assignment of the course. My group discussed for some minutes and in conclusion my idea was accepted because it’s new as far as we know and could really help those who need it.

Unfortunately due to conflicting schedules throughout the last half of the semester I was forced to do it alone. One was on internship and the other guy seemed to be quite difficult to contact.

Well, I don’t care how important they see this assignment, but looking at the deadline I thought I’d rather do it alone than abandoning the assignment. I know it was wrong and foolish, but I needed the grades. I could always teach my group members how to make programs like this one. I thought as long as I ensure they too experience something like what I did in this work, I guess I can let it slide for that single time (of course with a stern warning as a minimum bonus).

OK, so I made the program by myself back then. I asked my other friend about the matter. He was a graduate student and excel at this field to teach me whether my program was effective enough or not. He was surprised that I made the program alone and told me that he thought this work I’ve done might be eligible to submit as a scientific paper. I’ve pondered over it and I think he could be right.

As a side note this other friend I’m talking about is actually the one whose master’s thesis inspired me to make this DSS.

Then here comes the problem. I want to publish this as my first scientific paper but if I included my groupmates’ names it would be a problem. A big problem as they didn’t do the work themselves. But at the same time I think it would be weird if I suddenly publish it under my name only.

As they too have their names written on the student’s report (and I can’t really change that), do I need to make some kind of an agreement letter that state they grant all the research materials to me?

PS:

  • Please notice that I’m asking about authorship. I’ve learned that it was foolish of me to write their names on the report.

  • I certainly need to ask my lecturer’s opinion about the material, but my predicament above (or perhaps my guilty conscience) barred me from directly asking the lecturer.

  • I want to limit my question to authorship matter. Thank you. 🙂

I’ve noticed that – at least in the US – a book is published and sold at a non-trivial price to US residents. However, the author/publisher may also make an international version.

This version is subpar in my opinion. For example, they are cheaper, but also typically paperback, and I’ve seen in a science textbook things such as “this problem has intentionally been omitted for this edition” and “this [foot]note has been intentionally omitted for this edition.”

Why are international editions stripped-down versions of their original counterparts? Why the need to omit certain problems and footnotes?

(I had asked this question first in Law Stack Exchange, but they deleted it and suggested I ask it here. So, any help on the legality of these reasonings would be appreciated).

I have an extensive experience in scholarly publishing as author and reviewer.

Most of my manuscripts have been rejected several times before eventually getting accepted and published.

I now favor not changing substantially my manuscripts after a rejection, even if accompanied by peer reviewers comments, as I feel that in most cases this has to do with a priority judgement rather than on the work strengths and weaknesses.

I this acceptable and efficient, or actually unethical and disrespectful of the peer review process?

We were recently sent a copy of an abstract by another group with whom we sometimes collaborate. This abstract was due and submitted over a month ago. This document was never shown to us and our approval was never asked, but the names of all the principals here are on it as authors. (It further contains a negative finding for our methodology versus another.) We were simply sent it with an apology and not much of an excuse. We have dealt with some borderline shady behavior with this group in the past.

I am new to this kind of behavior and have the following questions:

  • If we wish to not be on this abstract, who is generally the person to approach at the conference about it? Is it the communications person who sends out the routine emails, or someone else?
  • Is it appropriate that we request only that our names be removed, or is it SOP for this abstract to be retracted (which I guess would be bad for the grad student who leads it)?
  • Should we expect there to be consequences at this conference in future for the group that sent this in, or will it simply be withdrawn and that is the end of it?
  • Is there anything else I should be thinking about doing in this situation?

I have an idea that I have developed after extensive literature review, I am quite sure I have formed an interesting hypothesis, although I am not completely sure this hypothesis is testable.

I would like to contact the expert in the field which I think should have most of the data I need and has probably done part of the analysis but has not looked at this data through the perspective I am interested in. I do not have any common collaborators with this person.

I am afraid that if I contact this person and explain my idea he might think that I am not needed to complete this research because I am not offering data or any particular methodology, and I would only be able to do only a small part of the data analysis. Basically I am not offering much aside from the idea and writing the article, thus my concern for being excluded by a potential article.

Due to time constraints I would not be able to do this on my own so I do not have many alternatives, how should I proceed?

By chance, I am reviewing now the paper which I recognised as a paper of my colleague. We are from the same institution and I am surprised that I got this paper to review, but, on the other hand, I am lucky to see it before it’s published. My colleague mentions in this paper the methodology like it was his idea but actually, I am the one that developed it, made it work and applied it, together with the help of my supervisor. In short, he wants to be the author of the idea and the methodology. This is, in fact, what comes out from the paper.

I am now preparing my own paper about this methodology and my work, and I don’t have any publication on it, so far, just a poster from when I participated at a conference six months ago.

I talked to him about it but he doesn’t feel that it is wrong or ethically incorrect.

On top of that, we have the same supervisor. I talked with him as well, and he was threatening me, in a political correct way. He claims that it is okay, and in my paper, I will have just to cite their work in the introduction. He also stated that my work has a different approach in a small detail, so I will criticise their method and put mine as the better one. However, it isn’t true, because my approach is based on the methodology mentioned in the paper which I am reviewing now.

I really don’t know what to do. I was thinking to not review the paper, but it doesn’t solve the problem. If I reject it, I will have to write the reason why I am doing that, and it may turn my supervisor against me.

I would like to act in the most appropriate and ethically correct way. Just don’t know how. I would be grateful for all insights.