A team member of a coursework software development project didn’t contribute in any way. Can I remove his name from the project?

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I am the project manager of a small team of five undergraduate developers who have been working for months on a large system for our Senior Capstone project. Four members of the team, including myself, have put in an extensive amount of work on this project. The remaining member failed to contribute anything at all to the team project (not only did this team member fail to contribute any source code, he failed to contribute in any way at all).

I spoke with this individual multiple times about how failing to contribute, or even contributing minimally, could result in having to retake the Capstone course. Still the individual made no contribution. I spoke with the Professor leading our Capstone team on multiple occasions, and provided documentation supporting my claims. This documentation, along with several peer evaluations, should give the Professor enough information to make fair decisions involving each of our grades, which is really none of my business at all.

What is my business is that this fifth team member has his name displayed on work that he did not contribute to in any way. My question then, is can I remove his name from the completed system?

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  • 1

    So, what have they been doing all this time? Nothing at all or nothing good enough to be included in the main code?
    – Alexis
    Dec 7 at 8:12

  • 7

    The shorter answer: nothing at all. The longer answer: The nature of our collaboration is that we hold scheduled meetings twice weekly where we distribute tasks and discuss any issues in development. Each member’s responsibility is to perform their assigned tasks in a given time frame. This individual missed the majority of team meetings, failed to even contribute marginally toward any task, and when he actually attended meetings would agree to take on task assignments and to improve his communication, and then would fail to ever contribute solutions or to respond to remote communication.
    – Christian Westbrook
    Dec 7 at 8:25

  • 2

    Can you clarify what you mean with “his name is displayed”? Where is it displayed? In what form? I am imagining an open source system, and in this case why would his name even show up if he never commited code?
    – xLeitix
    Dec 7 at 8:47

  • 13

    Excluding the student might loose you marks, because you “failed” to operate as a team. Yes, it is unfair. But, such projects are sometimes used to evaluate team working skills (under the fallacy that such a project mimics a real-world project; they don’t, slackers get fired in the real-world). It might be worth checking the mark scheme and playing the game if there is potential for harm.
    – user2768
    Dec 7 at 8:58

  • 2

    I doubt that it is your place to do this. But you could ask the professor for the opportunity to do peer evaluations, in which each member comments on their own and the contributions of others.
    – Buffy
    Dec 7 at 13:52

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I am the project manager of a small team of five undergraduate developers who have been working for months on a large system for our Senior Capstone project. Four members of the team, including myself, have put in an extensive amount of work on this project. The remaining member failed to contribute anything at all to the team project (not only did this team member fail to contribute any source code, he failed to contribute in any way at all).

I spoke with this individual multiple times about how failing to contribute, or even contributing minimally, could result in having to retake the Capstone course. Still the individual made no contribution. I spoke with the Professor leading our Capstone team on multiple occasions, and provided documentation supporting my claims. This documentation, along with several peer evaluations, should give the Professor enough information to make fair decisions involving each of our grades, which is really none of my business at all.

What is my business is that this fifth team member has his name displayed on work that he did not contribute to in any way. My question then, is can I remove his name from the completed system?

share|improve this question

  • 1

    So, what have they been doing all this time? Nothing at all or nothing good enough to be included in the main code?
    – Alexis
    Dec 7 at 8:12

  • 7

    The shorter answer: nothing at all. The longer answer: The nature of our collaboration is that we hold scheduled meetings twice weekly where we distribute tasks and discuss any issues in development. Each member’s responsibility is to perform their assigned tasks in a given time frame. This individual missed the majority of team meetings, failed to even contribute marginally toward any task, and when he actually attended meetings would agree to take on task assignments and to improve his communication, and then would fail to ever contribute solutions or to respond to remote communication.
    – Christian Westbrook
    Dec 7 at 8:25

  • 2

    Can you clarify what you mean with “his name is displayed”? Where is it displayed? In what form? I am imagining an open source system, and in this case why would his name even show up if he never commited code?
    – xLeitix
    Dec 7 at 8:47

  • 13

    Excluding the student might loose you marks, because you “failed” to operate as a team. Yes, it is unfair. But, such projects are sometimes used to evaluate team working skills (under the fallacy that such a project mimics a real-world project; they don’t, slackers get fired in the real-world). It might be worth checking the mark scheme and playing the game if there is potential for harm.
    – user2768
    Dec 7 at 8:58

  • 2

    I doubt that it is your place to do this. But you could ask the professor for the opportunity to do peer evaluations, in which each member comments on their own and the contributions of others.
    – Buffy
    Dec 7 at 13:52

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I am the project manager of a small team of five undergraduate developers who have been working for months on a large system for our Senior Capstone project. Four members of the team, including myself, have put in an extensive amount of work on this project. The remaining member failed to contribute anything at all to the team project (not only did this team member fail to contribute any source code, he failed to contribute in any way at all).

I spoke with this individual multiple times about how failing to contribute, or even contributing minimally, could result in having to retake the Capstone course. Still the individual made no contribution. I spoke with the Professor leading our Capstone team on multiple occasions, and provided documentation supporting my claims. This documentation, along with several peer evaluations, should give the Professor enough information to make fair decisions involving each of our grades, which is really none of my business at all.

What is my business is that this fifth team member has his name displayed on work that he did not contribute to in any way. My question then, is can I remove his name from the completed system?

share|improve this question

I am the project manager of a small team of five undergraduate developers who have been working for months on a large system for our Senior Capstone project. Four members of the team, including myself, have put in an extensive amount of work on this project. The remaining member failed to contribute anything at all to the team project (not only did this team member fail to contribute any source code, he failed to contribute in any way at all).

I spoke with this individual multiple times about how failing to contribute, or even contributing minimally, could result in having to retake the Capstone course. Still the individual made no contribution. I spoke with the Professor leading our Capstone team on multiple occasions, and provided documentation supporting my claims. This documentation, along with several peer evaluations, should give the Professor enough information to make fair decisions involving each of our grades, which is really none of my business at all.

What is my business is that this fifth team member has his name displayed on work that he did not contribute to in any way. My question then, is can I remove his name from the completed system?

authorship coursework legal-issues software

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edited Dec 9 at 7:17

RLH

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asked Dec 7 at 6:08

Christian Westbrook

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  • 1

    So, what have they been doing all this time? Nothing at all or nothing good enough to be included in the main code?
    – Alexis
    Dec 7 at 8:12

  • 7

    The shorter answer: nothing at all. The longer answer: The nature of our collaboration is that we hold scheduled meetings twice weekly where we distribute tasks and discuss any issues in development. Each member’s responsibility is to perform their assigned tasks in a given time frame. This individual missed the majority of team meetings, failed to even contribute marginally toward any task, and when he actually attended meetings would agree to take on task assignments and to improve his communication, and then would fail to ever contribute solutions or to respond to remote communication.
    – Christian Westbrook
    Dec 7 at 8:25

  • 2

    Can you clarify what you mean with “his name is displayed”? Where is it displayed? In what form? I am imagining an open source system, and in this case why would his name even show up if he never commited code?
    – xLeitix
    Dec 7 at 8:47

  • 13

    Excluding the student might loose you marks, because you “failed” to operate as a team. Yes, it is unfair. But, such projects are sometimes used to evaluate team working skills (under the fallacy that such a project mimics a real-world project; they don’t, slackers get fired in the real-world). It might be worth checking the mark scheme and playing the game if there is potential for harm.
    – user2768
    Dec 7 at 8:58

  • 2

    I doubt that it is your place to do this. But you could ask the professor for the opportunity to do peer evaluations, in which each member comments on their own and the contributions of others.
    – Buffy
    Dec 7 at 13:52

  • 1

    So, what have they been doing all this time? Nothing at all or nothing good enough to be included in the main code?
    – Alexis
    Dec 7 at 8:12

  • 7

    The shorter answer: nothing at all. The longer answer: The nature of our collaboration is that we hold scheduled meetings twice weekly where we distribute tasks and discuss any issues in development. Each member’s responsibility is to perform their assigned tasks in a given time frame. This individual missed the majority of team meetings, failed to even contribute marginally toward any task, and when he actually attended meetings would agree to take on task assignments and to improve his communication, and then would fail to ever contribute solutions or to respond to remote communication.
    – Christian Westbrook
    Dec 7 at 8:25

  • 2

    Can you clarify what you mean with “his name is displayed”? Where is it displayed? In what form? I am imagining an open source system, and in this case why would his name even show up if he never commited code?
    – xLeitix
    Dec 7 at 8:47

  • 13

    Excluding the student might loose you marks, because you “failed” to operate as a team. Yes, it is unfair. But, such projects are sometimes used to evaluate team working skills (under the fallacy that such a project mimics a real-world project; they don’t, slackers get fired in the real-world). It might be worth checking the mark scheme and playing the game if there is potential for harm.
    – user2768
    Dec 7 at 8:58

  • 2

    I doubt that it is your place to do this. But you could ask the professor for the opportunity to do peer evaluations, in which each member comments on their own and the contributions of others.
    – Buffy
    Dec 7 at 13:52

1

1

So, what have they been doing all this time? Nothing at all or nothing good enough to be included in the main code?
– Alexis
Dec 7 at 8:12

So, what have they been doing all this time? Nothing at all or nothing good enough to be included in the main code?
– Alexis
Dec 7 at 8:12

7

7

The shorter answer: nothing at all. The longer answer: The nature of our collaboration is that we hold scheduled meetings twice weekly where we distribute tasks and discuss any issues in development. Each member’s responsibility is to perform their assigned tasks in a given time frame. This individual missed the majority of team meetings, failed to even contribute marginally toward any task, and when he actually attended meetings would agree to take on task assignments and to improve his communication, and then would fail to ever contribute solutions or to respond to remote communication.
– Christian Westbrook
Dec 7 at 8:25

The shorter answer: nothing at all. The longer answer: The nature of our collaboration is that we hold scheduled meetings twice weekly where we distribute tasks and discuss any issues in development. Each member’s responsibility is to perform their assigned tasks in a given time frame. This individual missed the majority of team meetings, failed to even contribute marginally toward any task, and when he actually attended meetings would agree to take on task assignments and to improve his communication, and then would fail to ever contribute solutions or to respond to remote communication.
– Christian Westbrook
Dec 7 at 8:25

2

2

Can you clarify what you mean with “his name is displayed”? Where is it displayed? In what form? I am imagining an open source system, and in this case why would his name even show up if he never commited code?
– xLeitix
Dec 7 at 8:47

Can you clarify what you mean with “his name is displayed”? Where is it displayed? In what form? I am imagining an open source system, and in this case why would his name even show up if he never commited code?
– xLeitix
Dec 7 at 8:47

13

13

Excluding the student might loose you marks, because you “failed” to operate as a team. Yes, it is unfair. But, such projects are sometimes used to evaluate team working skills (under the fallacy that such a project mimics a real-world project; they don’t, slackers get fired in the real-world). It might be worth checking the mark scheme and playing the game if there is potential for harm.
– user2768
Dec 7 at 8:58

Excluding the student might loose you marks, because you “failed” to operate as a team. Yes, it is unfair. But, such projects are sometimes used to evaluate team working skills (under the fallacy that such a project mimics a real-world project; they don’t, slackers get fired in the real-world). It might be worth checking the mark scheme and playing the game if there is potential for harm.
– user2768
Dec 7 at 8:58

2

2

I doubt that it is your place to do this. But you could ask the professor for the opportunity to do peer evaluations, in which each member comments on their own and the contributions of others.
– Buffy
Dec 7 at 13:52

I doubt that it is your place to do this. But you could ask the professor for the opportunity to do peer evaluations, in which each member comments on their own and the contributions of others.
– Buffy
Dec 7 at 13:52

7 Answers
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Can I remove someone’s name from an academic software development project that didn’t contribute a single line of code?

Just to focus on the title itself; lines of code contributed is not an accurate summary of contribution. This is a variation on the workman’s fallacy of “management is useless because they don’t directly make the product”.

For example, someone can contribute by working together with the others, and due to working with everyone in different steps, they end up not writing the code and have only contributed to the design of the application. Or testing. Or analysis.
As a second example, maybe their initial code ended up being refactored due to a midway design change, thus technically not having their contribution added to the final product while still having contributed.

I’m aware that this is not the case here, but I want to advise you to refrain from using “not contributing a single line of code” as the main justification. When I read the title, before clicking the link, it implied that you were blindly measuring value by measuring LOC which would put you at fault for using a faulty metric.


However, as this person didn’t do anything at all, let’s address the real situation.

Whether or not removing the name is warranted depends on whether you are being graded collectively or not. If you all share the same grade, then this person should be prevented from mooching/piggybacking off of your results.

If the grading is done individually, and the professor is already aware (and has evidence) of this person’s lack of contribution, then removing the name is unnecessary. It would only be a matter of principle/pride.
While I can certainly understand your desire to not give credit to someone who did not contribute; keep in mind that doing so may come across as petty and may even suggest to outside observers that this person was being ostracized by their team mates, which can end up as a mitigating circumstance in that person’s favor.

In either case, I suggest you ask the professor on the right course of action. Since they are already aware of the issue (and presumably have not refuted your claim, since you didn’t mention them doing so), having the professor agree to remove this person’s name from the project safeguards you from possible negative inferences about having done so.

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  • 21

    +1. Clearly the best answer so far. LOC is a terrible measure for contribution to a project. I once had a student I thought was not a contributor. But in the peer evaluations his teammates named him as the most important contributor. There are lots of ways to contribute. Entering code – even correct code- is only one of them. Not just “management” but research, coordination, testing. Not to mention overall conceptual design. I’m not sure that any of these apply in the particular case here, but in general, takes a nuanced analysis.
    – Buffy
    Dec 7 at 12:40

  • 1

    @J…: That doesn’t mean that exceptions can’t be made. OP already proved the other person’s lack of contribution, and I assume the professor did not contest the claim (as OP doesn’t mention anything about it). If the professor is already failing the one person, they are effectively grading the contributers differently (even if they decide to give the same grade to all the others). However, I can’t confirm whether these exceptions are possible in OP’s scenario. If they are not allowed, then the only way to prevent mooching/piggybacking is to effectively remove their name from the project.
    – Flater
    Dec 7 at 14:12

  • 1

    I think you’ve misunderstood. “Didn’t contribute a single line of code” is being used as an example of the idiom “Didn’t even do [the smallest thing possible].” The asker isn’t saying that writing lines of code is necessary for all project members.
    – David Richerby
    Dec 7 at 20:34

  • 1

    @Tim Capstone projects are different – these are exercises in project management as much as anything else. The team are expected to produce a single, cohesive, body of work. This is an attempt to have the project more closely mirror the types of project work that will follow either in professional employment or in academic research.
    – J…
    Dec 8 at 12:07

  • 1

    Note: If the student is doing the capstone for a degree in computer science or software engineering, not a single line of code is highly troubling. Completely ignoring a core concept of your field isn’t acceptable. Being not-so-good at it is one thing, but completely ignoring it and still passing is misleading.
    – Clay07g
    Dec 8 at 16:41

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There are two aspects to this:

  1. Who gets academic credit for this project? Who gets a pass, and what grade (if any)? In my opinion this also includes who shows up in the university’s online system as team members for this capstone project, as well as on the poster you mentioned.
  2. Who has copyright for the project source code? Who is listed as a commiter for the project, if it is published as open source software?

You already did all the right things with regard to the first item. You alerted the professor, and provided supporting documentation. As you correctly say in your question, it’s now basically in your professor’s hands how they want to handle this case further. If you disagree with their decision (if they, for instance, decide to go the path of least resistance and don’t do anything) you are free to go one step higher, and discuss the case with your program director (or whoever is in charge of your overall programme). However, ultimately, it is not your decision to grade the project or to decide who has sufficiently contributed to receive academic recognition for the project. In that sense, you can’t really unilaterally decide to kick out the student from the team, or not mention them in your poster.

The second item is a different story, though. If your team mate did not contribute code, they can’t have any claim of copyright on the resulting project (hanging around in meetings, or formally being part of a team, does not give you copyright to code that you did not write). They have no grounds to require you to acknowledge a (non-existing) contribution if you decide to make your work public, independently of what the university says about this. You may decide to acknowledge them anyway in some way (as in, thank them for some unspecified collaborations or contributions in the README file of the project), but you certainly don’t have to list them as authors (e.g., in the source code of files that they have never touched). The easiest, and also most generally useful, way to handle this is to be explicit with what team member did. Have a header in each source file that mentions who edited the file. Have a “contributors” page that lists, rather detailedly, what each team member did. A team member who did nothing will just not show up in either of these lists, making it fairly clear that they were not in any way instrumental to this project becoming a reality.

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  • But you could put on the poster a brief resumé of the work each contributed… and “nothing” would probaqbly be a valid entry…
    – Solar Mike
    Dec 7 at 10:38

  • 1

    Regarding your second point, if OP is based in the US, the IP almost certainly belongs to the university.
    – C Henry
    Dec 7 at 18:17

  • @CHenry: On what basis?
    – R..
    Dec 7 at 19:32

  • @CHenry IPR != copyright.
    – xLeitix
    Dec 8 at 11:41

  • 1

    @R.. Most universities (in the US and elsewhere, but notably not in Sweden) retain at least a fraction of the right to commercialisation on works produced by their students and faculty. However, this has little bearing on my answer, as this does not mean that they can pretend somebody else actually authored the work. They can just claim parts of the profits if the authors decide to make money from the project.
    – xLeitix
    Dec 8 at 11:44

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First and foremost, I think this is a question for the instructor of the course. If the instructor is not willing or not able to remove that person from your team, they are part of your team and that fact should be reflected in the deliverables.

I would suggest that in your final report you and your team-mates make it clear who did what. E.g.

Team members: V, W, X, Y, Z.

  • Requirements definition: V, W, X, Y
  • Development and testing of module A: V, W
  • Development and testing of module B: X, Y
  • Development and testing of module C: V, X
  • Writing of final report: V, W, X, Y
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    up vote
    3
    down vote

    Anyone not giving contributions in any form to the project shouldn’t be named, it’s as simple as that.

    You should inform your professor for your decision, and go ahead removing the name.

    share|improve this answer

    • 2

      I would add to this that justification is very much required to stay above board when doing so, as a lack of justification leaves it up to outside observers whether the other person did not contribute or is being unfairly ostracized.
      – Flater
      Dec 7 at 12:13

    up vote
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    I will offer an answer contrary to most of the others.

    Since he was officially a member of the team, list him in the documentation and project report.

    You have discussed this person’s (non)contribution with your professor – that’s all you can or should do.

    I have taught lots of capstone/project software engineering courses. One thing students learn is how small a part of the work the actual coding is. Another is how hard it can be to work on a team, particularly when some coworkers lag. That’s a lesson you have absorbed. In your job interviews point with pride to the project and your role – even frustration – as team leader.

    share|improve this answer

    • 1

      It depends on how the documentation is structured. If you’re naming the team, then yes he was a (non-contributing) member of the team. If a list of authors, you have to go with the legal definition of authorship, which would exclude the non-contributing student.
      – Ben Voigt
      Dec 8 at 13:56

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    I cannot give you an answer on what would be the moral or legal thing to do (for that, I think it is best to ask the course supervisor), but I can give you an anecdotal answer.

    Because last year, I was in the exact same situation as you!
    For one of our courses, there was a semester-long project in which we had to work in teams of 3.

    Me and one of my teammates, while we did have some issues combining our different programming styles, worked hard on this and even got close to winning the inclass-competition.
    The 3d member however, didn’t write a single line of code. (The only thing he pushed to git was a text file containing a TODO-list which I dictated to him while we were brainstorming…). We had git-logs to back this up in case it was necesarry.

    Me and the 2nd teammate were both aware of this problem, and we both dealt with it in our own ways. I was the one who finished the final report and sent it in. I didn’t put his name on it at all, because I didn’t feel like he was in our group at all. There was no communication during the project, he didn’t ask what he could do, and he didn’t contribute anything. Maybe he even joined a different team, without telling us? How could I have known?
    My partner however sent an email to the course-supervisor explaining how the other classmate didn’t contribute anything, and that he wanted to let him know that.

    During the peer-evaluation, we were asked how much each member approximately contributed to different parts of the project. We split 50-50 between us on all parts, but gave 0% to the 3d mate.

    This might seem very harsh, but you can’t have someone graduate by using you or others.

    share|improve this answer

      up vote
      -2
      down vote

      No, you can’t. Bill Gates doesn’t write code himself since Windows ME. Does it make possible to say he is not contributing to the development of Microsoft products?
      Steve Jobs was not a software developer neither software engineer nor software team lead. He was a designer. Does it make him useless for the software corporation he was CEO of?

      share|improve this answer

      • 1

        -1 Firstly, they can do it (just do it, then it’s done). Secondly, did you read the full context of the OPs situation? I fail to see any parallel in your examples… (it’s bordering on a strawman argument)
        – Lamar Latrell
        Dec 9 at 5:39

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      7 Answers
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      Can I remove someone’s name from an academic software development project that didn’t contribute a single line of code?

      Just to focus on the title itself; lines of code contributed is not an accurate summary of contribution. This is a variation on the workman’s fallacy of “management is useless because they don’t directly make the product”.

      For example, someone can contribute by working together with the others, and due to working with everyone in different steps, they end up not writing the code and have only contributed to the design of the application. Or testing. Or analysis.
      As a second example, maybe their initial code ended up being refactored due to a midway design change, thus technically not having their contribution added to the final product while still having contributed.

      I’m aware that this is not the case here, but I want to advise you to refrain from using “not contributing a single line of code” as the main justification. When I read the title, before clicking the link, it implied that you were blindly measuring value by measuring LOC which would put you at fault for using a faulty metric.


      However, as this person didn’t do anything at all, let’s address the real situation.

      Whether or not removing the name is warranted depends on whether you are being graded collectively or not. If you all share the same grade, then this person should be prevented from mooching/piggybacking off of your results.

      If the grading is done individually, and the professor is already aware (and has evidence) of this person’s lack of contribution, then removing the name is unnecessary. It would only be a matter of principle/pride.
      While I can certainly understand your desire to not give credit to someone who did not contribute; keep in mind that doing so may come across as petty and may even suggest to outside observers that this person was being ostracized by their team mates, which can end up as a mitigating circumstance in that person’s favor.

      In either case, I suggest you ask the professor on the right course of action. Since they are already aware of the issue (and presumably have not refuted your claim, since you didn’t mention them doing so), having the professor agree to remove this person’s name from the project safeguards you from possible negative inferences about having done so.

      share|improve this answer

      • 21

        +1. Clearly the best answer so far. LOC is a terrible measure for contribution to a project. I once had a student I thought was not a contributor. But in the peer evaluations his teammates named him as the most important contributor. There are lots of ways to contribute. Entering code – even correct code- is only one of them. Not just “management” but research, coordination, testing. Not to mention overall conceptual design. I’m not sure that any of these apply in the particular case here, but in general, takes a nuanced analysis.
        – Buffy
        Dec 7 at 12:40

      • 1

        @J…: That doesn’t mean that exceptions can’t be made. OP already proved the other person’s lack of contribution, and I assume the professor did not contest the claim (as OP doesn’t mention anything about it). If the professor is already failing the one person, they are effectively grading the contributers differently (even if they decide to give the same grade to all the others). However, I can’t confirm whether these exceptions are possible in OP’s scenario. If they are not allowed, then the only way to prevent mooching/piggybacking is to effectively remove their name from the project.
        – Flater
        Dec 7 at 14:12

      • 1

        I think you’ve misunderstood. “Didn’t contribute a single line of code” is being used as an example of the idiom “Didn’t even do [the smallest thing possible].” The asker isn’t saying that writing lines of code is necessary for all project members.
        – David Richerby
        Dec 7 at 20:34

      • 1

        @Tim Capstone projects are different – these are exercises in project management as much as anything else. The team are expected to produce a single, cohesive, body of work. This is an attempt to have the project more closely mirror the types of project work that will follow either in professional employment or in academic research.
        – J…
        Dec 8 at 12:07

      • 1

        Note: If the student is doing the capstone for a degree in computer science or software engineering, not a single line of code is highly troubling. Completely ignoring a core concept of your field isn’t acceptable. Being not-so-good at it is one thing, but completely ignoring it and still passing is misleading.
        – Clay07g
        Dec 8 at 16:41

      up vote
      56
      down vote

      accepted

      Can I remove someone’s name from an academic software development project that didn’t contribute a single line of code?

      Just to focus on the title itself; lines of code contributed is not an accurate summary of contribution. This is a variation on the workman’s fallacy of “management is useless because they don’t directly make the product”.

      For example, someone can contribute by working together with the others, and due to working with everyone in different steps, they end up not writing the code and have only contributed to the design of the application. Or testing. Or analysis.
      As a second example, maybe their initial code ended up being refactored due to a midway design change, thus technically not having their contribution added to the final product while still having contributed.

      I’m aware that this is not the case here, but I want to advise you to refrain from using “not contributing a single line of code” as the main justification. When I read the title, before clicking the link, it implied that you were blindly measuring value by measuring LOC which would put you at fault for using a faulty metric.


      However, as this person didn’t do anything at all, let’s address the real situation.

      Whether or not removing the name is warranted depends on whether you are being graded collectively or not. If you all share the same grade, then this person should be prevented from mooching/piggybacking off of your results.

      If the grading is done individually, and the professor is already aware (and has evidence) of this person’s lack of contribution, then removing the name is unnecessary. It would only be a matter of principle/pride.
      While I can certainly understand your desire to not give credit to someone who did not contribute; keep in mind that doing so may come across as petty and may even suggest to outside observers that this person was being ostracized by their team mates, which can end up as a mitigating circumstance in that person’s favor.

      In either case, I suggest you ask the professor on the right course of action. Since they are already aware of the issue (and presumably have not refuted your claim, since you didn’t mention them doing so), having the professor agree to remove this person’s name from the project safeguards you from possible negative inferences about having done so.

      share|improve this answer

      • 21

        +1. Clearly the best answer so far. LOC is a terrible measure for contribution to a project. I once had a student I thought was not a contributor. But in the peer evaluations his teammates named him as the most important contributor. There are lots of ways to contribute. Entering code – even correct code- is only one of them. Not just “management” but research, coordination, testing. Not to mention overall conceptual design. I’m not sure that any of these apply in the particular case here, but in general, takes a nuanced analysis.
        – Buffy
        Dec 7 at 12:40

      • 1

        @J…: That doesn’t mean that exceptions can’t be made. OP already proved the other person’s lack of contribution, and I assume the professor did not contest the claim (as OP doesn’t mention anything about it). If the professor is already failing the one person, they are effectively grading the contributers differently (even if they decide to give the same grade to all the others). However, I can’t confirm whether these exceptions are possible in OP’s scenario. If they are not allowed, then the only way to prevent mooching/piggybacking is to effectively remove their name from the project.
        – Flater
        Dec 7 at 14:12

      • 1

        I think you’ve misunderstood. “Didn’t contribute a single line of code” is being used as an example of the idiom “Didn’t even do [the smallest thing possible].” The asker isn’t saying that writing lines of code is necessary for all project members.
        – David Richerby
        Dec 7 at 20:34

      • 1

        @Tim Capstone projects are different – these are exercises in project management as much as anything else. The team are expected to produce a single, cohesive, body of work. This is an attempt to have the project more closely mirror the types of project work that will follow either in professional employment or in academic research.
        – J…
        Dec 8 at 12:07

      • 1

        Note: If the student is doing the capstone for a degree in computer science or software engineering, not a single line of code is highly troubling. Completely ignoring a core concept of your field isn’t acceptable. Being not-so-good at it is one thing, but completely ignoring it and still passing is misleading.
        – Clay07g
        Dec 8 at 16:41

      up vote
      56
      down vote

      accepted

      up vote
      56
      down vote

      accepted

      Can I remove someone’s name from an academic software development project that didn’t contribute a single line of code?

      Just to focus on the title itself; lines of code contributed is not an accurate summary of contribution. This is a variation on the workman’s fallacy of “management is useless because they don’t directly make the product”.

      For example, someone can contribute by working together with the others, and due to working with everyone in different steps, they end up not writing the code and have only contributed to the design of the application. Or testing. Or analysis.
      As a second example, maybe their initial code ended up being refactored due to a midway design change, thus technically not having their contribution added to the final product while still having contributed.

      I’m aware that this is not the case here, but I want to advise you to refrain from using “not contributing a single line of code” as the main justification. When I read the title, before clicking the link, it implied that you were blindly measuring value by measuring LOC which would put you at fault for using a faulty metric.


      However, as this person didn’t do anything at all, let’s address the real situation.

      Whether or not removing the name is warranted depends on whether you are being graded collectively or not. If you all share the same grade, then this person should be prevented from mooching/piggybacking off of your results.

      If the grading is done individually, and the professor is already aware (and has evidence) of this person’s lack of contribution, then removing the name is unnecessary. It would only be a matter of principle/pride.
      While I can certainly understand your desire to not give credit to someone who did not contribute; keep in mind that doing so may come across as petty and may even suggest to outside observers that this person was being ostracized by their team mates, which can end up as a mitigating circumstance in that person’s favor.

      In either case, I suggest you ask the professor on the right course of action. Since they are already aware of the issue (and presumably have not refuted your claim, since you didn’t mention them doing so), having the professor agree to remove this person’s name from the project safeguards you from possible negative inferences about having done so.

      share|improve this answer

      Can I remove someone’s name from an academic software development project that didn’t contribute a single line of code?

      Just to focus on the title itself; lines of code contributed is not an accurate summary of contribution. This is a variation on the workman’s fallacy of “management is useless because they don’t directly make the product”.

      For example, someone can contribute by working together with the others, and due to working with everyone in different steps, they end up not writing the code and have only contributed to the design of the application. Or testing. Or analysis.
      As a second example, maybe their initial code ended up being refactored due to a midway design change, thus technically not having their contribution added to the final product while still having contributed.

      I’m aware that this is not the case here, but I want to advise you to refrain from using “not contributing a single line of code” as the main justification. When I read the title, before clicking the link, it implied that you were blindly measuring value by measuring LOC which would put you at fault for using a faulty metric.


      However, as this person didn’t do anything at all, let’s address the real situation.

      Whether or not removing the name is warranted depends on whether you are being graded collectively or not. If you all share the same grade, then this person should be prevented from mooching/piggybacking off of your results.

      If the grading is done individually, and the professor is already aware (and has evidence) of this person’s lack of contribution, then removing the name is unnecessary. It would only be a matter of principle/pride.
      While I can certainly understand your desire to not give credit to someone who did not contribute; keep in mind that doing so may come across as petty and may even suggest to outside observers that this person was being ostracized by their team mates, which can end up as a mitigating circumstance in that person’s favor.

      In either case, I suggest you ask the professor on the right course of action. Since they are already aware of the issue (and presumably have not refuted your claim, since you didn’t mention them doing so), having the professor agree to remove this person’s name from the project safeguards you from possible negative inferences about having done so.

      share|improve this answer

      share|improve this answer

      share|improve this answer

      answered Dec 7 at 12:09

      Flater

      53436

      53436

      • 21

        +1. Clearly the best answer so far. LOC is a terrible measure for contribution to a project. I once had a student I thought was not a contributor. But in the peer evaluations his teammates named him as the most important contributor. There are lots of ways to contribute. Entering code – even correct code- is only one of them. Not just “management” but research, coordination, testing. Not to mention overall conceptual design. I’m not sure that any of these apply in the particular case here, but in general, takes a nuanced analysis.
        – Buffy
        Dec 7 at 12:40

      • 1

        @J…: That doesn’t mean that exceptions can’t be made. OP already proved the other person’s lack of contribution, and I assume the professor did not contest the claim (as OP doesn’t mention anything about it). If the professor is already failing the one person, they are effectively grading the contributers differently (even if they decide to give the same grade to all the others). However, I can’t confirm whether these exceptions are possible in OP’s scenario. If they are not allowed, then the only way to prevent mooching/piggybacking is to effectively remove their name from the project.
        – Flater
        Dec 7 at 14:12

      • 1

        I think you’ve misunderstood. “Didn’t contribute a single line of code” is being used as an example of the idiom “Didn’t even do [the smallest thing possible].” The asker isn’t saying that writing lines of code is necessary for all project members.
        – David Richerby
        Dec 7 at 20:34

      • 1

        @Tim Capstone projects are different – these are exercises in project management as much as anything else. The team are expected to produce a single, cohesive, body of work. This is an attempt to have the project more closely mirror the types of project work that will follow either in professional employment or in academic research.
        – J…
        Dec 8 at 12:07

      • 1

        Note: If the student is doing the capstone for a degree in computer science or software engineering, not a single line of code is highly troubling. Completely ignoring a core concept of your field isn’t acceptable. Being not-so-good at it is one thing, but completely ignoring it and still passing is misleading.
        – Clay07g
        Dec 8 at 16:41

      • 21

        +1. Clearly the best answer so far. LOC is a terrible measure for contribution to a project. I once had a student I thought was not a contributor. But in the peer evaluations his teammates named him as the most important contributor. There are lots of ways to contribute. Entering code – even correct code- is only one of them. Not just “management” but research, coordination, testing. Not to mention overall conceptual design. I’m not sure that any of these apply in the particular case here, but in general, takes a nuanced analysis.
        – Buffy
        Dec 7 at 12:40

      • 1

        @J…: That doesn’t mean that exceptions can’t be made. OP already proved the other person’s lack of contribution, and I assume the professor did not contest the claim (as OP doesn’t mention anything about it). If the professor is already failing the one person, they are effectively grading the contributers differently (even if they decide to give the same grade to all the others). However, I can’t confirm whether these exceptions are possible in OP’s scenario. If they are not allowed, then the only way to prevent mooching/piggybacking is to effectively remove their name from the project.
        – Flater
        Dec 7 at 14:12

      • 1

        I think you’ve misunderstood. “Didn’t contribute a single line of code” is being used as an example of the idiom “Didn’t even do [the smallest thing possible].” The asker isn’t saying that writing lines of code is necessary for all project members.
        – David Richerby
        Dec 7 at 20:34

      • 1

        @Tim Capstone projects are different – these are exercises in project management as much as anything else. The team are expected to produce a single, cohesive, body of work. This is an attempt to have the project more closely mirror the types of project work that will follow either in professional employment or in academic research.
        – J…
        Dec 8 at 12:07

      • 1

        Note: If the student is doing the capstone for a degree in computer science or software engineering, not a single line of code is highly troubling. Completely ignoring a core concept of your field isn’t acceptable. Being not-so-good at it is one thing, but completely ignoring it and still passing is misleading.
        – Clay07g
        Dec 8 at 16:41

      21

      21

      +1. Clearly the best answer so far. LOC is a terrible measure for contribution to a project. I once had a student I thought was not a contributor. But in the peer evaluations his teammates named him as the most important contributor. There are lots of ways to contribute. Entering code – even correct code- is only one of them. Not just “management” but research, coordination, testing. Not to mention overall conceptual design. I’m not sure that any of these apply in the particular case here, but in general, takes a nuanced analysis.
      – Buffy
      Dec 7 at 12:40

      +1. Clearly the best answer so far. LOC is a terrible measure for contribution to a project. I once had a student I thought was not a contributor. But in the peer evaluations his teammates named him as the most important contributor. There are lots of ways to contribute. Entering code – even correct code- is only one of them. Not just “management” but research, coordination, testing. Not to mention overall conceptual design. I’m not sure that any of these apply in the particular case here, but in general, takes a nuanced analysis.
      – Buffy
      Dec 7 at 12:40

      1

      1

      @J…: That doesn’t mean that exceptions can’t be made. OP already proved the other person’s lack of contribution, and I assume the professor did not contest the claim (as OP doesn’t mention anything about it). If the professor is already failing the one person, they are effectively grading the contributers differently (even if they decide to give the same grade to all the others). However, I can’t confirm whether these exceptions are possible in OP’s scenario. If they are not allowed, then the only way to prevent mooching/piggybacking is to effectively remove their name from the project.
      – Flater
      Dec 7 at 14:12

      @J…: That doesn’t mean that exceptions can’t be made. OP already proved the other person’s lack of contribution, and I assume the professor did not contest the claim (as OP doesn’t mention anything about it). If the professor is already failing the one person, they are effectively grading the contributers differently (even if they decide to give the same grade to all the others). However, I can’t confirm whether these exceptions are possible in OP’s scenario. If they are not allowed, then the only way to prevent mooching/piggybacking is to effectively remove their name from the project.
      – Flater
      Dec 7 at 14:12

      1

      1

      I think you’ve misunderstood. “Didn’t contribute a single line of code” is being used as an example of the idiom “Didn’t even do [the smallest thing possible].” The asker isn’t saying that writing lines of code is necessary for all project members.
      – David Richerby
      Dec 7 at 20:34

      I think you’ve misunderstood. “Didn’t contribute a single line of code” is being used as an example of the idiom “Didn’t even do [the smallest thing possible].” The asker isn’t saying that writing lines of code is necessary for all project members.
      – David Richerby
      Dec 7 at 20:34

      1

      1

      @Tim Capstone projects are different – these are exercises in project management as much as anything else. The team are expected to produce a single, cohesive, body of work. This is an attempt to have the project more closely mirror the types of project work that will follow either in professional employment or in academic research.
      – J…
      Dec 8 at 12:07

      @Tim Capstone projects are different – these are exercises in project management as much as anything else. The team are expected to produce a single, cohesive, body of work. This is an attempt to have the project more closely mirror the types of project work that will follow either in professional employment or in academic research.
      – J…
      Dec 8 at 12:07

      1

      1

      Note: If the student is doing the capstone for a degree in computer science or software engineering, not a single line of code is highly troubling. Completely ignoring a core concept of your field isn’t acceptable. Being not-so-good at it is one thing, but completely ignoring it and still passing is misleading.
      – Clay07g
      Dec 8 at 16:41

      Note: If the student is doing the capstone for a degree in computer science or software engineering, not a single line of code is highly troubling. Completely ignoring a core concept of your field isn’t acceptable. Being not-so-good at it is one thing, but completely ignoring it and still passing is misleading.
      – Clay07g
      Dec 8 at 16:41

      up vote
      8
      down vote

      There are two aspects to this:

      1. Who gets academic credit for this project? Who gets a pass, and what grade (if any)? In my opinion this also includes who shows up in the university’s online system as team members for this capstone project, as well as on the poster you mentioned.
      2. Who has copyright for the project source code? Who is listed as a commiter for the project, if it is published as open source software?

      You already did all the right things with regard to the first item. You alerted the professor, and provided supporting documentation. As you correctly say in your question, it’s now basically in your professor’s hands how they want to handle this case further. If you disagree with their decision (if they, for instance, decide to go the path of least resistance and don’t do anything) you are free to go one step higher, and discuss the case with your program director (or whoever is in charge of your overall programme). However, ultimately, it is not your decision to grade the project or to decide who has sufficiently contributed to receive academic recognition for the project. In that sense, you can’t really unilaterally decide to kick out the student from the team, or not mention them in your poster.

      The second item is a different story, though. If your team mate did not contribute code, they can’t have any claim of copyright on the resulting project (hanging around in meetings, or formally being part of a team, does not give you copyright to code that you did not write). They have no grounds to require you to acknowledge a (non-existing) contribution if you decide to make your work public, independently of what the university says about this. You may decide to acknowledge them anyway in some way (as in, thank them for some unspecified collaborations or contributions in the README file of the project), but you certainly don’t have to list them as authors (e.g., in the source code of files that they have never touched). The easiest, and also most generally useful, way to handle this is to be explicit with what team member did. Have a header in each source file that mentions who edited the file. Have a “contributors” page that lists, rather detailedly, what each team member did. A team member who did nothing will just not show up in either of these lists, making it fairly clear that they were not in any way instrumental to this project becoming a reality.

      share|improve this answer

      • But you could put on the poster a brief resumé of the work each contributed… and “nothing” would probaqbly be a valid entry…
        – Solar Mike
        Dec 7 at 10:38

      • 1

        Regarding your second point, if OP is based in the US, the IP almost certainly belongs to the university.
        – C Henry
        Dec 7 at 18:17

      • @CHenry: On what basis?
        – R..
        Dec 7 at 19:32

      • @CHenry IPR != copyright.
        – xLeitix
        Dec 8 at 11:41

      • 1

        @R.. Most universities (in the US and elsewhere, but notably not in Sweden) retain at least a fraction of the right to commercialisation on works produced by their students and faculty. However, this has little bearing on my answer, as this does not mean that they can pretend somebody else actually authored the work. They can just claim parts of the profits if the authors decide to make money from the project.
        – xLeitix
        Dec 8 at 11:44

      up vote
      8
      down vote

      There are two aspects to this:

      1. Who gets academic credit for this project? Who gets a pass, and what grade (if any)? In my opinion this also includes who shows up in the university’s online system as team members for this capstone project, as well as on the poster you mentioned.
      2. Who has copyright for the project source code? Who is listed as a commiter for the project, if it is published as open source software?

      You already did all the right things with regard to the first item. You alerted the professor, and provided supporting documentation. As you correctly say in your question, it’s now basically in your professor’s hands how they want to handle this case further. If you disagree with their decision (if they, for instance, decide to go the path of least resistance and don’t do anything) you are free to go one step higher, and discuss the case with your program director (or whoever is in charge of your overall programme). However, ultimately, it is not your decision to grade the project or to decide who has sufficiently contributed to receive academic recognition for the project. In that sense, you can’t really unilaterally decide to kick out the student from the team, or not mention them in your poster.

      The second item is a different story, though. If your team mate did not contribute code, they can’t have any claim of copyright on the resulting project (hanging around in meetings, or formally being part of a team, does not give you copyright to code that you did not write). They have no grounds to require you to acknowledge a (non-existing) contribution if you decide to make your work public, independently of what the university says about this. You may decide to acknowledge them anyway in some way (as in, thank them for some unspecified collaborations or contributions in the README file of the project), but you certainly don’t have to list them as authors (e.g., in the source code of files that they have never touched). The easiest, and also most generally useful, way to handle this is to be explicit with what team member did. Have a header in each source file that mentions who edited the file. Have a “contributors” page that lists, rather detailedly, what each team member did. A team member who did nothing will just not show up in either of these lists, making it fairly clear that they were not in any way instrumental to this project becoming a reality.

      share|improve this answer

      • But you could put on the poster a brief resumé of the work each contributed… and “nothing” would probaqbly be a valid entry…
        – Solar Mike
        Dec 7 at 10:38

      • 1

        Regarding your second point, if OP is based in the US, the IP almost certainly belongs to the university.
        – C Henry
        Dec 7 at 18:17

      • @CHenry: On what basis?
        – R..
        Dec 7 at 19:32

      • @CHenry IPR != copyright.
        – xLeitix
        Dec 8 at 11:41

      • 1

        @R.. Most universities (in the US and elsewhere, but notably not in Sweden) retain at least a fraction of the right to commercialisation on works produced by their students and faculty. However, this has little bearing on my answer, as this does not mean that they can pretend somebody else actually authored the work. They can just claim parts of the profits if the authors decide to make money from the project.
        – xLeitix
        Dec 8 at 11:44

      up vote
      8
      down vote

      up vote
      8
      down vote

      There are two aspects to this:

      1. Who gets academic credit for this project? Who gets a pass, and what grade (if any)? In my opinion this also includes who shows up in the university’s online system as team members for this capstone project, as well as on the poster you mentioned.
      2. Who has copyright for the project source code? Who is listed as a commiter for the project, if it is published as open source software?

      You already did all the right things with regard to the first item. You alerted the professor, and provided supporting documentation. As you correctly say in your question, it’s now basically in your professor’s hands how they want to handle this case further. If you disagree with their decision (if they, for instance, decide to go the path of least resistance and don’t do anything) you are free to go one step higher, and discuss the case with your program director (or whoever is in charge of your overall programme). However, ultimately, it is not your decision to grade the project or to decide who has sufficiently contributed to receive academic recognition for the project. In that sense, you can’t really unilaterally decide to kick out the student from the team, or not mention them in your poster.

      The second item is a different story, though. If your team mate did not contribute code, they can’t have any claim of copyright on the resulting project (hanging around in meetings, or formally being part of a team, does not give you copyright to code that you did not write). They have no grounds to require you to acknowledge a (non-existing) contribution if you decide to make your work public, independently of what the university says about this. You may decide to acknowledge them anyway in some way (as in, thank them for some unspecified collaborations or contributions in the README file of the project), but you certainly don’t have to list them as authors (e.g., in the source code of files that they have never touched). The easiest, and also most generally useful, way to handle this is to be explicit with what team member did. Have a header in each source file that mentions who edited the file. Have a “contributors” page that lists, rather detailedly, what each team member did. A team member who did nothing will just not show up in either of these lists, making it fairly clear that they were not in any way instrumental to this project becoming a reality.

      share|improve this answer

      There are two aspects to this:

      1. Who gets academic credit for this project? Who gets a pass, and what grade (if any)? In my opinion this also includes who shows up in the university’s online system as team members for this capstone project, as well as on the poster you mentioned.
      2. Who has copyright for the project source code? Who is listed as a commiter for the project, if it is published as open source software?

      You already did all the right things with regard to the first item. You alerted the professor, and provided supporting documentation. As you correctly say in your question, it’s now basically in your professor’s hands how they want to handle this case further. If you disagree with their decision (if they, for instance, decide to go the path of least resistance and don’t do anything) you are free to go one step higher, and discuss the case with your program director (or whoever is in charge of your overall programme). However, ultimately, it is not your decision to grade the project or to decide who has sufficiently contributed to receive academic recognition for the project. In that sense, you can’t really unilaterally decide to kick out the student from the team, or not mention them in your poster.

      The second item is a different story, though. If your team mate did not contribute code, they can’t have any claim of copyright on the resulting project (hanging around in meetings, or formally being part of a team, does not give you copyright to code that you did not write). They have no grounds to require you to acknowledge a (non-existing) contribution if you decide to make your work public, independently of what the university says about this. You may decide to acknowledge them anyway in some way (as in, thank them for some unspecified collaborations or contributions in the README file of the project), but you certainly don’t have to list them as authors (e.g., in the source code of files that they have never touched). The easiest, and also most generally useful, way to handle this is to be explicit with what team member did. Have a header in each source file that mentions who edited the file. Have a “contributors” page that lists, rather detailedly, what each team member did. A team member who did nothing will just not show up in either of these lists, making it fairly clear that they were not in any way instrumental to this project becoming a reality.

      share|improve this answer

      share|improve this answer

      share|improve this answer

      answered Dec 7 at 10:31

      xLeitix

      97.4k34234378

      97.4k34234378

      • But you could put on the poster a brief resumé of the work each contributed… and “nothing” would probaqbly be a valid entry…
        – Solar Mike
        Dec 7 at 10:38

      • 1

        Regarding your second point, if OP is based in the US, the IP almost certainly belongs to the university.
        – C Henry
        Dec 7 at 18:17

      • @CHenry: On what basis?
        – R..
        Dec 7 at 19:32

      • @CHenry IPR != copyright.
        – xLeitix
        Dec 8 at 11:41

      • 1

        @R.. Most universities (in the US and elsewhere, but notably not in Sweden) retain at least a fraction of the right to commercialisation on works produced by their students and faculty. However, this has little bearing on my answer, as this does not mean that they can pretend somebody else actually authored the work. They can just claim parts of the profits if the authors decide to make money from the project.
        – xLeitix
        Dec 8 at 11:44

      • But you could put on the poster a brief resumé of the work each contributed… and “nothing” would probaqbly be a valid entry…
        – Solar Mike
        Dec 7 at 10:38

      • 1

        Regarding your second point, if OP is based in the US, the IP almost certainly belongs to the university.
        – C Henry
        Dec 7 at 18:17

      • @CHenry: On what basis?
        – R..
        Dec 7 at 19:32

      • @CHenry IPR != copyright.
        – xLeitix
        Dec 8 at 11:41

      • 1

        @R.. Most universities (in the US and elsewhere, but notably not in Sweden) retain at least a fraction of the right to commercialisation on works produced by their students and faculty. However, this has little bearing on my answer, as this does not mean that they can pretend somebody else actually authored the work. They can just claim parts of the profits if the authors decide to make money from the project.
        – xLeitix
        Dec 8 at 11:44

      But you could put on the poster a brief resumé of the work each contributed… and “nothing” would probaqbly be a valid entry…
      – Solar Mike
      Dec 7 at 10:38

      But you could put on the poster a brief resumé of the work each contributed… and “nothing” would probaqbly be a valid entry…
      – Solar Mike
      Dec 7 at 10:38

      1

      1

      Regarding your second point, if OP is based in the US, the IP almost certainly belongs to the university.
      – C Henry
      Dec 7 at 18:17

      Regarding your second point, if OP is based in the US, the IP almost certainly belongs to the university.
      – C Henry
      Dec 7 at 18:17

      @CHenry: On what basis?
      – R..
      Dec 7 at 19:32

      @CHenry: On what basis?
      – R..
      Dec 7 at 19:32

      @CHenry IPR != copyright.
      – xLeitix
      Dec 8 at 11:41

      @CHenry IPR != copyright.
      – xLeitix
      Dec 8 at 11:41

      1

      1

      @R.. Most universities (in the US and elsewhere, but notably not in Sweden) retain at least a fraction of the right to commercialisation on works produced by their students and faculty. However, this has little bearing on my answer, as this does not mean that they can pretend somebody else actually authored the work. They can just claim parts of the profits if the authors decide to make money from the project.
      – xLeitix
      Dec 8 at 11:44

      @R.. Most universities (in the US and elsewhere, but notably not in Sweden) retain at least a fraction of the right to commercialisation on works produced by their students and faculty. However, this has little bearing on my answer, as this does not mean that they can pretend somebody else actually authored the work. They can just claim parts of the profits if the authors decide to make money from the project.
      – xLeitix
      Dec 8 at 11:44

      up vote
      4
      down vote

      First and foremost, I think this is a question for the instructor of the course. If the instructor is not willing or not able to remove that person from your team, they are part of your team and that fact should be reflected in the deliverables.

      I would suggest that in your final report you and your team-mates make it clear who did what. E.g.

      Team members: V, W, X, Y, Z.

      • Requirements definition: V, W, X, Y
      • Development and testing of module A: V, W
      • Development and testing of module B: X, Y
      • Development and testing of module C: V, X
      • Writing of final report: V, W, X, Y
      share|improve this answer

        up vote
        4
        down vote

        First and foremost, I think this is a question for the instructor of the course. If the instructor is not willing or not able to remove that person from your team, they are part of your team and that fact should be reflected in the deliverables.

        I would suggest that in your final report you and your team-mates make it clear who did what. E.g.

        Team members: V, W, X, Y, Z.

        • Requirements definition: V, W, X, Y
        • Development and testing of module A: V, W
        • Development and testing of module B: X, Y
        • Development and testing of module C: V, X
        • Writing of final report: V, W, X, Y
        share|improve this answer

          up vote
          4
          down vote

          up vote
          4
          down vote

          First and foremost, I think this is a question for the instructor of the course. If the instructor is not willing or not able to remove that person from your team, they are part of your team and that fact should be reflected in the deliverables.

          I would suggest that in your final report you and your team-mates make it clear who did what. E.g.

          Team members: V, W, X, Y, Z.

          • Requirements definition: V, W, X, Y
          • Development and testing of module A: V, W
          • Development and testing of module B: X, Y
          • Development and testing of module C: V, X
          • Writing of final report: V, W, X, Y
          share|improve this answer

          First and foremost, I think this is a question for the instructor of the course. If the instructor is not willing or not able to remove that person from your team, they are part of your team and that fact should be reflected in the deliverables.

          I would suggest that in your final report you and your team-mates make it clear who did what. E.g.

          Team members: V, W, X, Y, Z.

          • Requirements definition: V, W, X, Y
          • Development and testing of module A: V, W
          • Development and testing of module B: X, Y
          • Development and testing of module C: V, X
          • Writing of final report: V, W, X, Y
          share|improve this answer

          share|improve this answer

          share|improve this answer

          answered Dec 8 at 15:27

          Theodore Norvell

          45937

          45937

              up vote
              3
              down vote

              Anyone not giving contributions in any form to the project shouldn’t be named, it’s as simple as that.

              You should inform your professor for your decision, and go ahead removing the name.

              share|improve this answer

              • 2

                I would add to this that justification is very much required to stay above board when doing so, as a lack of justification leaves it up to outside observers whether the other person did not contribute or is being unfairly ostracized.
                – Flater
                Dec 7 at 12:13

              up vote
              3
              down vote

              Anyone not giving contributions in any form to the project shouldn’t be named, it’s as simple as that.

              You should inform your professor for your decision, and go ahead removing the name.

              share|improve this answer

              • 2

                I would add to this that justification is very much required to stay above board when doing so, as a lack of justification leaves it up to outside observers whether the other person did not contribute or is being unfairly ostracized.
                – Flater
                Dec 7 at 12:13

              up vote
              3
              down vote

              up vote
              3
              down vote

              Anyone not giving contributions in any form to the project shouldn’t be named, it’s as simple as that.

              You should inform your professor for your decision, and go ahead removing the name.

              share|improve this answer

              Anyone not giving contributions in any form to the project shouldn’t be named, it’s as simple as that.

              You should inform your professor for your decision, and go ahead removing the name.

              share|improve this answer

              share|improve this answer

              share|improve this answer

              answered Dec 7 at 9:18

              SmallChess

              1,5641920

              1,5641920

              • 2

                I would add to this that justification is very much required to stay above board when doing so, as a lack of justification leaves it up to outside observers whether the other person did not contribute or is being unfairly ostracized.
                – Flater
                Dec 7 at 12:13

              • 2

                I would add to this that justification is very much required to stay above board when doing so, as a lack of justification leaves it up to outside observers whether the other person did not contribute or is being unfairly ostracized.
                – Flater
                Dec 7 at 12:13

              2

              2

              I would add to this that justification is very much required to stay above board when doing so, as a lack of justification leaves it up to outside observers whether the other person did not contribute or is being unfairly ostracized.
              – Flater
              Dec 7 at 12:13

              I would add to this that justification is very much required to stay above board when doing so, as a lack of justification leaves it up to outside observers whether the other person did not contribute or is being unfairly ostracized.
              – Flater
              Dec 7 at 12:13

              up vote
              3
              down vote

              I will offer an answer contrary to most of the others.

              Since he was officially a member of the team, list him in the documentation and project report.

              You have discussed this person’s (non)contribution with your professor – that’s all you can or should do.

              I have taught lots of capstone/project software engineering courses. One thing students learn is how small a part of the work the actual coding is. Another is how hard it can be to work on a team, particularly when some coworkers lag. That’s a lesson you have absorbed. In your job interviews point with pride to the project and your role – even frustration – as team leader.

              share|improve this answer

              • 1

                It depends on how the documentation is structured. If you’re naming the team, then yes he was a (non-contributing) member of the team. If a list of authors, you have to go with the legal definition of authorship, which would exclude the non-contributing student.
                – Ben Voigt
                Dec 8 at 13:56

              up vote
              3
              down vote

              I will offer an answer contrary to most of the others.

              Since he was officially a member of the team, list him in the documentation and project report.

              You have discussed this person’s (non)contribution with your professor – that’s all you can or should do.

              I have taught lots of capstone/project software engineering courses. One thing students learn is how small a part of the work the actual coding is. Another is how hard it can be to work on a team, particularly when some coworkers lag. That’s a lesson you have absorbed. In your job interviews point with pride to the project and your role – even frustration – as team leader.

              share|improve this answer

              • 1

                It depends on how the documentation is structured. If you’re naming the team, then yes he was a (non-contributing) member of the team. If a list of authors, you have to go with the legal definition of authorship, which would exclude the non-contributing student.
                – Ben Voigt
                Dec 8 at 13:56

              up vote
              3
              down vote

              up vote
              3
              down vote

              I will offer an answer contrary to most of the others.

              Since he was officially a member of the team, list him in the documentation and project report.

              You have discussed this person’s (non)contribution with your professor – that’s all you can or should do.

              I have taught lots of capstone/project software engineering courses. One thing students learn is how small a part of the work the actual coding is. Another is how hard it can be to work on a team, particularly when some coworkers lag. That’s a lesson you have absorbed. In your job interviews point with pride to the project and your role – even frustration – as team leader.

              share|improve this answer

              I will offer an answer contrary to most of the others.

              Since he was officially a member of the team, list him in the documentation and project report.

              You have discussed this person’s (non)contribution with your professor – that’s all you can or should do.

              I have taught lots of capstone/project software engineering courses. One thing students learn is how small a part of the work the actual coding is. Another is how hard it can be to work on a team, particularly when some coworkers lag. That’s a lesson you have absorbed. In your job interviews point with pride to the project and your role – even frustration – as team leader.

              share|improve this answer

              share|improve this answer

              share|improve this answer

              answered Dec 7 at 19:34

              Ethan Bolker

              3,8621119

              3,8621119

              • 1

                It depends on how the documentation is structured. If you’re naming the team, then yes he was a (non-contributing) member of the team. If a list of authors, you have to go with the legal definition of authorship, which would exclude the non-contributing student.
                – Ben Voigt
                Dec 8 at 13:56

              • 1

                It depends on how the documentation is structured. If you’re naming the team, then yes he was a (non-contributing) member of the team. If a list of authors, you have to go with the legal definition of authorship, which would exclude the non-contributing student.
                – Ben Voigt
                Dec 8 at 13:56

              1

              1

              It depends on how the documentation is structured. If you’re naming the team, then yes he was a (non-contributing) member of the team. If a list of authors, you have to go with the legal definition of authorship, which would exclude the non-contributing student.
              – Ben Voigt
              Dec 8 at 13:56

              It depends on how the documentation is structured. If you’re naming the team, then yes he was a (non-contributing) member of the team. If a list of authors, you have to go with the legal definition of authorship, which would exclude the non-contributing student.
              – Ben Voigt
              Dec 8 at 13:56

              up vote
              2
              down vote

              I cannot give you an answer on what would be the moral or legal thing to do (for that, I think it is best to ask the course supervisor), but I can give you an anecdotal answer.

              Because last year, I was in the exact same situation as you!
              For one of our courses, there was a semester-long project in which we had to work in teams of 3.

              Me and one of my teammates, while we did have some issues combining our different programming styles, worked hard on this and even got close to winning the inclass-competition.
              The 3d member however, didn’t write a single line of code. (The only thing he pushed to git was a text file containing a TODO-list which I dictated to him while we were brainstorming…). We had git-logs to back this up in case it was necesarry.

              Me and the 2nd teammate were both aware of this problem, and we both dealt with it in our own ways. I was the one who finished the final report and sent it in. I didn’t put his name on it at all, because I didn’t feel like he was in our group at all. There was no communication during the project, he didn’t ask what he could do, and he didn’t contribute anything. Maybe he even joined a different team, without telling us? How could I have known?
              My partner however sent an email to the course-supervisor explaining how the other classmate didn’t contribute anything, and that he wanted to let him know that.

              During the peer-evaluation, we were asked how much each member approximately contributed to different parts of the project. We split 50-50 between us on all parts, but gave 0% to the 3d mate.

              This might seem very harsh, but you can’t have someone graduate by using you or others.

              share|improve this answer

                up vote
                2
                down vote

                I cannot give you an answer on what would be the moral or legal thing to do (for that, I think it is best to ask the course supervisor), but I can give you an anecdotal answer.

                Because last year, I was in the exact same situation as you!
                For one of our courses, there was a semester-long project in which we had to work in teams of 3.

                Me and one of my teammates, while we did have some issues combining our different programming styles, worked hard on this and even got close to winning the inclass-competition.
                The 3d member however, didn’t write a single line of code. (The only thing he pushed to git was a text file containing a TODO-list which I dictated to him while we were brainstorming…). We had git-logs to back this up in case it was necesarry.

                Me and the 2nd teammate were both aware of this problem, and we both dealt with it in our own ways. I was the one who finished the final report and sent it in. I didn’t put his name on it at all, because I didn’t feel like he was in our group at all. There was no communication during the project, he didn’t ask what he could do, and he didn’t contribute anything. Maybe he even joined a different team, without telling us? How could I have known?
                My partner however sent an email to the course-supervisor explaining how the other classmate didn’t contribute anything, and that he wanted to let him know that.

                During the peer-evaluation, we were asked how much each member approximately contributed to different parts of the project. We split 50-50 between us on all parts, but gave 0% to the 3d mate.

                This might seem very harsh, but you can’t have someone graduate by using you or others.

                share|improve this answer

                  up vote
                  2
                  down vote

                  up vote
                  2
                  down vote

                  I cannot give you an answer on what would be the moral or legal thing to do (for that, I think it is best to ask the course supervisor), but I can give you an anecdotal answer.

                  Because last year, I was in the exact same situation as you!
                  For one of our courses, there was a semester-long project in which we had to work in teams of 3.

                  Me and one of my teammates, while we did have some issues combining our different programming styles, worked hard on this and even got close to winning the inclass-competition.
                  The 3d member however, didn’t write a single line of code. (The only thing he pushed to git was a text file containing a TODO-list which I dictated to him while we were brainstorming…). We had git-logs to back this up in case it was necesarry.

                  Me and the 2nd teammate were both aware of this problem, and we both dealt with it in our own ways. I was the one who finished the final report and sent it in. I didn’t put his name on it at all, because I didn’t feel like he was in our group at all. There was no communication during the project, he didn’t ask what he could do, and he didn’t contribute anything. Maybe he even joined a different team, without telling us? How could I have known?
                  My partner however sent an email to the course-supervisor explaining how the other classmate didn’t contribute anything, and that he wanted to let him know that.

                  During the peer-evaluation, we were asked how much each member approximately contributed to different parts of the project. We split 50-50 between us on all parts, but gave 0% to the 3d mate.

                  This might seem very harsh, but you can’t have someone graduate by using you or others.

                  share|improve this answer

                  I cannot give you an answer on what would be the moral or legal thing to do (for that, I think it is best to ask the course supervisor), but I can give you an anecdotal answer.

                  Because last year, I was in the exact same situation as you!
                  For one of our courses, there was a semester-long project in which we had to work in teams of 3.

                  Me and one of my teammates, while we did have some issues combining our different programming styles, worked hard on this and even got close to winning the inclass-competition.
                  The 3d member however, didn’t write a single line of code. (The only thing he pushed to git was a text file containing a TODO-list which I dictated to him while we were brainstorming…). We had git-logs to back this up in case it was necesarry.

                  Me and the 2nd teammate were both aware of this problem, and we both dealt with it in our own ways. I was the one who finished the final report and sent it in. I didn’t put his name on it at all, because I didn’t feel like he was in our group at all. There was no communication during the project, he didn’t ask what he could do, and he didn’t contribute anything. Maybe he even joined a different team, without telling us? How could I have known?
                  My partner however sent an email to the course-supervisor explaining how the other classmate didn’t contribute anything, and that he wanted to let him know that.

                  During the peer-evaluation, we were asked how much each member approximately contributed to different parts of the project. We split 50-50 between us on all parts, but gave 0% to the 3d mate.

                  This might seem very harsh, but you can’t have someone graduate by using you or others.

                  share|improve this answer

                  share|improve this answer

                  share|improve this answer

                  answered Dec 8 at 10:30

                  Opifex

                  211

                  211

                      up vote
                      -2
                      down vote

                      No, you can’t. Bill Gates doesn’t write code himself since Windows ME. Does it make possible to say he is not contributing to the development of Microsoft products?
                      Steve Jobs was not a software developer neither software engineer nor software team lead. He was a designer. Does it make him useless for the software corporation he was CEO of?

                      share|improve this answer

                      • 1

                        -1 Firstly, they can do it (just do it, then it’s done). Secondly, did you read the full context of the OPs situation? I fail to see any parallel in your examples… (it’s bordering on a strawman argument)
                        – Lamar Latrell
                        Dec 9 at 5:39

                      up vote
                      -2
                      down vote

                      No, you can’t. Bill Gates doesn’t write code himself since Windows ME. Does it make possible to say he is not contributing to the development of Microsoft products?
                      Steve Jobs was not a software developer neither software engineer nor software team lead. He was a designer. Does it make him useless for the software corporation he was CEO of?

                      share|improve this answer

                      • 1

                        -1 Firstly, they can do it (just do it, then it’s done). Secondly, did you read the full context of the OPs situation? I fail to see any parallel in your examples… (it’s bordering on a strawman argument)
                        – Lamar Latrell
                        Dec 9 at 5:39

                      up vote
                      -2
                      down vote

                      up vote
                      -2
                      down vote

                      No, you can’t. Bill Gates doesn’t write code himself since Windows ME. Does it make possible to say he is not contributing to the development of Microsoft products?
                      Steve Jobs was not a software developer neither software engineer nor software team lead. He was a designer. Does it make him useless for the software corporation he was CEO of?

                      share|improve this answer

                      No, you can’t. Bill Gates doesn’t write code himself since Windows ME. Does it make possible to say he is not contributing to the development of Microsoft products?
                      Steve Jobs was not a software developer neither software engineer nor software team lead. He was a designer. Does it make him useless for the software corporation he was CEO of?

                      share|improve this answer

                      share|improve this answer

                      share|improve this answer

                      answered Dec 8 at 15:46

                      ivan866

                      1

                      1

                      • 1

                        -1 Firstly, they can do it (just do it, then it’s done). Secondly, did you read the full context of the OPs situation? I fail to see any parallel in your examples… (it’s bordering on a strawman argument)
                        – Lamar Latrell
                        Dec 9 at 5:39

                      • 1

                        -1 Firstly, they can do it (just do it, then it’s done). Secondly, did you read the full context of the OPs situation? I fail to see any parallel in your examples… (it’s bordering on a strawman argument)
                        – Lamar Latrell
                        Dec 9 at 5:39

                      1

                      1

                      -1 Firstly, they can do it (just do it, then it’s done). Secondly, did you read the full context of the OPs situation? I fail to see any parallel in your examples… (it’s bordering on a strawman argument)
                      – Lamar Latrell
                      Dec 9 at 5:39

                      -1 Firstly, they can do it (just do it, then it’s done). Secondly, did you read the full context of the OPs situation? I fail to see any parallel in your examples… (it’s bordering on a strawman argument)
                      – Lamar Latrell
                      Dec 9 at 5:39

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                      Is it acceptable to publish student names with the label ‘stupid question’, on a publicly-visible website?

                      The name of the pictureThe name of the pictureThe name of the pictureClash Royale CLAN TAG#URR8PPP

                      up vote
                      162
                      down vote

                      favorite

                      14

                      While I was browsing faculty websites, I came across this page. Near the bottom there is a section called Top 6 Most Stupid Questions & Remarks That I’he Heard from my Students where one can find a question and the first name (followed by one letter) of the student who asked it!
                      Screenshot

                      share|improve this question

                      • 13

                        archive.org’s copy (just in case): web.archive.org/web/20181203105110/https://…
                        – Xen2050
                        Dec 3 at 12:00

                      • 54

                        I’m voting to close this question because, I believe this is a rhetorical question, and that the OP knows the answer perfectly well. It’s not much different from a “Is it acceptable to shoot people who annoy me” question.
                        – einpoklum
                        Dec 4 at 19:53

                      • 60

                        @einpoklum is there a site policy that forbids asking questions to which the asker already knows the answer? The voting on this question suggests that a lot of people find it interesting and worth discussing. Moreover, some of the points brought up are actually not that obvious.
                        – Dan Romik
                        Dec 4 at 22:04

                      • 27

                        @einpoklum: That’s wild exaggeration. Shooting people without adequate reason is a serious crime, whereas identifying someone and calling their question stupid is not a crime. (I’m not necessarily saying it’s a good practice or mightn’t violate guidelines (university, web TOS, etc.), just your analogy is wildly offbase.)
                        – smci
                        Dec 4 at 23:43

                      • 11

                        @Agent_L These questions give a shortened name, with the name of a school, and the name of a teacher. Definitely that’s more than enough to find the real student behind this name.
                        – Kaël
                        Dec 5 at 15:30

                      up vote
                      162
                      down vote

                      favorite

                      14

                      While I was browsing faculty websites, I came across this page. Near the bottom there is a section called Top 6 Most Stupid Questions & Remarks That I’he Heard from my Students where one can find a question and the first name (followed by one letter) of the student who asked it!
                      Screenshot

                      share|improve this question

                      • 13

                        archive.org’s copy (just in case): web.archive.org/web/20181203105110/https://…
                        – Xen2050
                        Dec 3 at 12:00

                      • 54

                        I’m voting to close this question because, I believe this is a rhetorical question, and that the OP knows the answer perfectly well. It’s not much different from a “Is it acceptable to shoot people who annoy me” question.
                        – einpoklum
                        Dec 4 at 19:53

                      • 60

                        @einpoklum is there a site policy that forbids asking questions to which the asker already knows the answer? The voting on this question suggests that a lot of people find it interesting and worth discussing. Moreover, some of the points brought up are actually not that obvious.
                        – Dan Romik
                        Dec 4 at 22:04

                      • 27

                        @einpoklum: That’s wild exaggeration. Shooting people without adequate reason is a serious crime, whereas identifying someone and calling their question stupid is not a crime. (I’m not necessarily saying it’s a good practice or mightn’t violate guidelines (university, web TOS, etc.), just your analogy is wildly offbase.)
                        – smci
                        Dec 4 at 23:43

                      • 11

                        @Agent_L These questions give a shortened name, with the name of a school, and the name of a teacher. Definitely that’s more than enough to find the real student behind this name.
                        – Kaël
                        Dec 5 at 15:30

                      up vote
                      162
                      down vote

                      favorite

                      14

                      up vote
                      162
                      down vote

                      favorite

                      14
                      14

                      While I was browsing faculty websites, I came across this page. Near the bottom there is a section called Top 6 Most Stupid Questions & Remarks That I’he Heard from my Students where one can find a question and the first name (followed by one letter) of the student who asked it!
                      Screenshot

                      share|improve this question

                      While I was browsing faculty websites, I came across this page. Near the bottom there is a section called Top 6 Most Stupid Questions & Remarks That I’he Heard from my Students where one can find a question and the first name (followed by one letter) of the student who asked it!
                      Screenshot

                      ethics students legal-issues france

                      share|improve this question

                      share|improve this question

                      share|improve this question

                      share|improve this question

                      edited Dec 7 at 21:28

                      pushkin

                      550148

                      550148

                      asked Dec 3 at 0:01

                      SomeOne

                      786256

                      786256

                      • 13

                        archive.org’s copy (just in case): web.archive.org/web/20181203105110/https://…
                        – Xen2050
                        Dec 3 at 12:00

                      • 54

                        I’m voting to close this question because, I believe this is a rhetorical question, and that the OP knows the answer perfectly well. It’s not much different from a “Is it acceptable to shoot people who annoy me” question.
                        – einpoklum
                        Dec 4 at 19:53

                      • 60

                        @einpoklum is there a site policy that forbids asking questions to which the asker already knows the answer? The voting on this question suggests that a lot of people find it interesting and worth discussing. Moreover, some of the points brought up are actually not that obvious.
                        – Dan Romik
                        Dec 4 at 22:04

                      • 27

                        @einpoklum: That’s wild exaggeration. Shooting people without adequate reason is a serious crime, whereas identifying someone and calling their question stupid is not a crime. (I’m not necessarily saying it’s a good practice or mightn’t violate guidelines (university, web TOS, etc.), just your analogy is wildly offbase.)
                        – smci
                        Dec 4 at 23:43

                      • 11

                        @Agent_L These questions give a shortened name, with the name of a school, and the name of a teacher. Definitely that’s more than enough to find the real student behind this name.
                        – Kaël
                        Dec 5 at 15:30

                      • 13

                        archive.org’s copy (just in case): web.archive.org/web/20181203105110/https://…
                        – Xen2050
                        Dec 3 at 12:00

                      • 54

                        I’m voting to close this question because, I believe this is a rhetorical question, and that the OP knows the answer perfectly well. It’s not much different from a “Is it acceptable to shoot people who annoy me” question.
                        – einpoklum
                        Dec 4 at 19:53

                      • 60

                        @einpoklum is there a site policy that forbids asking questions to which the asker already knows the answer? The voting on this question suggests that a lot of people find it interesting and worth discussing. Moreover, some of the points brought up are actually not that obvious.
                        – Dan Romik
                        Dec 4 at 22:04

                      • 27

                        @einpoklum: That’s wild exaggeration. Shooting people without adequate reason is a serious crime, whereas identifying someone and calling their question stupid is not a crime. (I’m not necessarily saying it’s a good practice or mightn’t violate guidelines (university, web TOS, etc.), just your analogy is wildly offbase.)
                        – smci
                        Dec 4 at 23:43

                      • 11

                        @Agent_L These questions give a shortened name, with the name of a school, and the name of a teacher. Definitely that’s more than enough to find the real student behind this name.
                        – Kaël
                        Dec 5 at 15:30

                      13

                      13

                      archive.org’s copy (just in case): web.archive.org/web/20181203105110/https://…
                      – Xen2050
                      Dec 3 at 12:00

                      archive.org’s copy (just in case): web.archive.org/web/20181203105110/https://…
                      – Xen2050
                      Dec 3 at 12:00

                      54

                      54

                      I’m voting to close this question because, I believe this is a rhetorical question, and that the OP knows the answer perfectly well. It’s not much different from a “Is it acceptable to shoot people who annoy me” question.
                      – einpoklum
                      Dec 4 at 19:53

                      I’m voting to close this question because, I believe this is a rhetorical question, and that the OP knows the answer perfectly well. It’s not much different from a “Is it acceptable to shoot people who annoy me” question.
                      – einpoklum
                      Dec 4 at 19:53

                      60

                      60

                      @einpoklum is there a site policy that forbids asking questions to which the asker already knows the answer? The voting on this question suggests that a lot of people find it interesting and worth discussing. Moreover, some of the points brought up are actually not that obvious.
                      – Dan Romik
                      Dec 4 at 22:04

                      @einpoklum is there a site policy that forbids asking questions to which the asker already knows the answer? The voting on this question suggests that a lot of people find it interesting and worth discussing. Moreover, some of the points brought up are actually not that obvious.
                      – Dan Romik
                      Dec 4 at 22:04

                      27

                      27

                      @einpoklum: That’s wild exaggeration. Shooting people without adequate reason is a serious crime, whereas identifying someone and calling their question stupid is not a crime. (I’m not necessarily saying it’s a good practice or mightn’t violate guidelines (university, web TOS, etc.), just your analogy is wildly offbase.)
                      – smci
                      Dec 4 at 23:43

                      @einpoklum: That’s wild exaggeration. Shooting people without adequate reason is a serious crime, whereas identifying someone and calling their question stupid is not a crime. (I’m not necessarily saying it’s a good practice or mightn’t violate guidelines (university, web TOS, etc.), just your analogy is wildly offbase.)
                      – smci
                      Dec 4 at 23:43

                      11

                      11

                      @Agent_L These questions give a shortened name, with the name of a school, and the name of a teacher. Definitely that’s more than enough to find the real student behind this name.
                      – Kaël
                      Dec 5 at 15:30

                      @Agent_L These questions give a shortened name, with the name of a school, and the name of a teacher. Definitely that’s more than enough to find the real student behind this name.
                      – Kaël
                      Dec 5 at 15:30

                      7 Answers
                      7

                      active

                      oldest

                      votes

                      up vote
                      376
                      down vote

                      accepted

                      No. This is completely unacceptable. Sometimes faculty rant on social media and email lists where they do not think students will see the comments. Even this is frowned upon if the student could realize it is them being made fun of. It is completely inappropriate to make fun of students on a public website with students names.

                      share|improve this answer

                      • 137

                        It is completely inappropriate to make fun of students on a public website, regardless of whether it includes student names or not.
                        – Gimelist
                        Dec 3 at 7:45

                      • 1

                        Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
                        – ff524
                        Dec 4 at 20:45

                      • Does the same apply to ex-students? There is nothing in the material quoted which rules out the possibility that all of the students quoted have graduated or otherwise left the institution.
                        – James Martin
                        2 days ago

                      • @JamesMartin ask in chat and I will happily give you an answer.
                        – StrongBad
                        2 days ago

                      • 3

                        I find it completely inappropriate to make fun of people trying to learn – full stop. I’d say calling that page “teaching.php” is really misleading.
                        – mgarciaisaia
                        yesterday

                      up vote
                      200
                      down vote

                      In addition to StrongBad’s answer, this kind of behavior would also discourage students from asking questions in fear of finding themselves on the “stupid questions and answers” list. Given that “unacceptable” wasn’t defined further in the original question, I think this is also an important aspect that makes this sort of student shaming unacceptable. Except if the Professor doesn’t actually want any questions asked of course 🙂


                      I’d like to add that additionally, I don’t think posting photos of test answers online (like this specific professor did) is ethical or even legal. According to this website (archive link), handwriting is personal data according to the EUs GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) and can almost certainly not be published without permission.

                      share|improve this answer

                      • 56

                        I think this is an important answer, as it highlights that the consequences of riddiculing students for their answers is more far-reaching than just affecting the riddiculed students. As teachers, we should be encouraging the students to ask questions, not trying to deter them from it. Sure, everynow and then we will get a question that might seem “trivial”, but I’d much rather have that than not getting questions at all.
                        – Phil
                        Dec 3 at 9:16

                      • 38

                        xkcd.com/1053
                        – BurnsBA
                        Dec 3 at 14:43

                      • 16

                        Yup to all of this. I can almost guarantee that for every student with the courage to ask a “stupid question” there are half a dozen more who are keeping quiet and waiting for somebody else to ask.
                        – Geoffrey Brent
                        Dec 3 at 23:09

                      • Better link for whether handwriting is personal data since it deals with pretty much exactly this issue and references the court case.
                        – Voo
                        yesterday

                      up vote
                      70
                      down vote

                      It’s not only that such ridiculing is absolutely unacceptable and counterproductive (as others mentioned already) but it also puts the academic themselves in a kind of bad light as a lecturer/teacher. If my third year math/engineering students didn’t know what the cotangent is I would consider it much more of my own fault rather than theirs.

                      And most importantly, one shouldn’t be embarrassed of not knowing something but of not wanting to get to know it. Most people don’t even bother to ask a question even being proud of their ignorance sometimes. So I believe that no curiosity should be frowned upon.

                      UPDATE: Having said the above, it could still be considered a good attitude for a student to come up with some answer themselves (i.e. do some research/thinking) prior to asking their professor a question.

                      share|improve this answer

                      • 18

                        +1 for putting the onus back on the lecturer for the student lack of knowledge. I also like your point about “no curiosity should be frowned upon”. I’ve got a friend who has been teaching in another part of the world for a number of years. He’s run into an interesting cultural issue, where the students are bought up to accept things without questioning anything. Obviously this can cause some big problems. Imagine having students who don’t question any basic assumptions, ever. They’re good at learning things as rote, but cannot handle problems outside of exactly what they’ve been taught.
                        – Doctor Jones
                        Dec 3 at 12:14

                      • 4

                        This echoes my thoughts, except that I’d add it’s either my fault, or else the collective fault of the institutional program. (Maybe it’s something that should have been taught in a prerequisite, but it wasn’t taught well.) “Despite the extreme simplicity of this question, many students did not respond correctly” – that sounds like an indictment on the professor! Also, a note on your update: That might not apply in the middle of a lecture, when I’ve just mentioned something, so there’s no time for a student to do the research.
                        – J.R.
                        Dec 3 at 15:24

                      • 7

                        Blaming the professor or “system” makes sense if every student does not know basic facts. But most students will, the dumb questions come from a select few. Also engineering students generally need to cover trig (and more) in high school.
                        – A Simple Algorithm
                        Dec 3 at 17:54

                      • 1

                        @A Simple Algorithm still the professor/system’s fault. No student should get to the 3rd year not knowing the basics either by being taught appropriately or by being kicked out of the establishment.
                        – ayorgo
                        Dec 3 at 18:04

                      • 7

                        @ASimpleAlgorithm – From the OP’s graphic: What is a decibel? – several 4th-year students. If several 4th-year students don’t know what a decibel is, and the professor feels like that’s a “Most Stupid Question,” then it might be time to take a hard look at the curriculum. And “covering trig in high school” doesn’t mean everyone has what they learned three years ago locked into short-term memory.
                        – J.R.
                        Dec 3 at 18:13

                      up vote
                      17
                      down vote

                      This is a bad taste, for sure (IMHO), but since there are plenty of websites where students are more than welcome to tell anything they want about their professors with full names etc., I guess this may be viewed as a kind of “symmetric response”. I’m pretty much against internet trashing of anybody (usually it does more bad than good for all parties involved) but, alas, it has became a pretty common culture nowadays, so I am not surprised that some professors resort to it too.

                      As to the questions listed, they do not show stupidity, just utter ignorance, so I personally would object more to calling them “stupid questions” than to listing the student names. If a third year student asks me what a geometric progression is, I just answer with a definition and an example and consider the case closed. Moreover, I can openly announce that at the moment of this writing I don’t remember what exactly a decibel is myself. All I remember is that it is a unit of measure of sound intensity and that the scale is logarithmic. If the student is not able to process an answer appropriately, it is, of course, a completely different story, but if one just doesn’t know something, there is no shame in asking.

                      This means that I would neither call such questions stupid, nor list the names myself and would, probably, discourage my friends from doing so, but I wouldn’t cry out loud “Unforgivable crime!” or “Unethical behavior!” if I see somebody else doing it either. For me it is bad taste, period.

                      That was the “common sense” part. As to the legal part, it is country dependent and I’m not really familiar enough with the European laws to discuss the corresponding subtleties.

                      share|improve this answer

                      • 13

                        “They did it first” is not an acceptable defense, especially when it’s likely that the “they” in this case have nothing to do with the “it.”
                        – fluffy
                        Dec 5 at 4:07

                      • 22

                        -1 There is an enormous power imbalance between lecturers and their students. As a result, for a student to complain about a lecturer is often petty and immature, but for a lecturer to publicly complain about individual students by name is always abusive. This is not, as you claim, a “symmetric response.”
                        – Kevin
                        Dec 5 at 18:35

                      • 4

                        -1 Also, teachers are paid to teach students and answer questions. What if a restaurant publishes a list of “things stupid customers do”? Students are obliged to abide by a set of rules indeed, but “no stupid questions” is not one of them. Asking what cotangent is would embarrass the student badly and perhaps signal that the student shouldn’t have been there, but it is not a “wrong” thing to do. In fact, the student is being responsible to themself, as they asked questions when they do not understand.
                        – xuq01
                        Dec 5 at 21:28

                      • 4

                        @fedja You seem to be confused. People want education so that they can form a career. They (or the government) pays other people for that education. So, unless you’re not being paid, then you’re providing a service, by the literal definition. Also, I find your notion’s about ratings delusional. A student does not need to be an expert in Physics to know that their science professor is bad at teaching others. If you want to “pass on the knowledge you possess”, do it for free. Otherwise, offer your services for money, and be subject to those who want to be informed before spending money.
                        – Clay07g
                        Dec 7 at 2:44

                      • 4

                        @xuq01 There are lists where employees rant about customers, and it’s a fun read. Yet the important part is that it’s fully anonymous, for entertainment or insight into the daily life of said jobs, not to trash a particular person, which doesn’t apply here.
                        – Darkwing
                        Dec 7 at 14:01

                      up vote
                      12
                      down vote

                      Not only the ethic behind this is very doubtful as StrongBad said, but this is also probably illegal under the loi informatique et liberté & the GDPR because it falls under the definition of “Donnée Personnelle” (see the CNIL definition). If someone decide to warn the CNIL about this page, it could put the university and the teacher at risk.

                      share|improve this answer

                      • 1

                        Accordingly to CNIL site the first name (le prénom) is not a personal data.
                        – Mark S.
                        Dec 4 at 12:17

                      • 10

                        “Nom” is a catch all word. I can mean the familly name or a full name. In anycase, you have to add to this that the university of the student and the year they were in is also mentioned which would make it trivial to identify the student. How many “Mathieu C.” in ISITV had Iaroslav Blagouchine has a teacher in 3rd Year in the Higher Mathematics class ?
                        – Maeln
                        Dec 4 at 12:23

                      • 14

                        Because personal data are any information that identify someone directly or indirectly. Here the mention of the university name and the year they were in (plus the teacher name and the name of the class) would be considered indirect personal data when mixed with a mention of their (not full) name.
                        – Maeln
                        Dec 4 at 12:24

                      • 3

                        @MarkS. I don’t disagree with you (although getting a students list through alumini network is usually fairly easy), but it doesn’t matter what we think. If the CNIL decide that this is personal data and if there is no trace that student gave explicit consent to appear in this list, then it is illegal.
                        – Maeln
                        Dec 5 at 9:36

                      • 2

                        @MarkS. yeah, lucky students who were given common first names at birth. But if your first name is Robinson or Zeus or Orion or Kami or Iaroslav, then you’re out of luck?
                        – Cœur
                        15 hours ago

                      up vote
                      5
                      down vote

                      As has been said in prior answers, it is NEVER acceptable to make fun of students or otherwise say or do something that could prevent them from learning.

                      Many sites on the Stack Exchange network would not be the same without “stupid questions” and you could view students asking them in the same way. Even if it seems utterly ridiculous to you, the student likely is honestly wondering about it and laughing at their questions somewhere where they could potentially see them could encourage them to not ask questions for fear of being laughed at. Students who hold their questions for this reason often never get them answered and as a result earn a lower grade.

                      share|improve this answer

                        up vote
                        3
                        down vote

                        1) First of all, it seems that the leading question of the discussion “Is it acceptable to publish student names with the label stupid question?” is not correctly formulated. A part of the the question contains a statement which is actually faulty: the names of the students are not revealed, only the first names are mentioned, which are all very common ones. The format like Donald T. or Emmanuel M. does not permit to identify the person, so that the anonymity is fully kept (hence, GDPR has nothing to do with this). Moreover, such a format of names is usual in classic literature. Actually, to name the person only with her/his first name means precisely that you do not want to reveal the identity of the person.

                        2) I don’t think that the objective was to ridicule the students, but rather to make them attend more or/and to make them understand that they are simply too lazy (since they do not recall even basic notions). In engineering schools, as was remarked earlier by @A Simple Algorithm, students should have at least basic notions of the trigonometry (the trigonometry is usually covered in high school before the university), because it is used throughout all the university curriculum. Same remark concerns decibels: this is a very basic notion, which is covered during the 1st year of studies. So (@J.R.) nobody mocks. After all, it ain’t funny to have students with such a poor level.

                        3) In France, the higher education is free, so that it is easily accessible even for the lazy students. Don’t you think about those students from other countries, who have a talent and would like to study, but can’t do this because their parents can’t pay??

                        4) Also, I don’t understand why it is acceptable to widely rank teachers and professors on the Web sites, and why it is not acceptable to do the same with the students (thought on this Web site the rank of the students is not published)? And on the Web sites, the professors are fully named, not as Antoine W. or Sven F. So strangely, nobody thinks about GDPR or FERPA for the professors and teachers.

                        UPD: the initial question was modified so that now it is clear that the actual names are not revealed on the website in question.

                        share|improve this answer

                        • 19

                          1) A name in the pattern of Rashad Gabriel B.–K. (changed for privacy) is distinguishable enough. 2) This behavior makes me want to stay away from class instead of attend. Also I’d rather have a few stupid questions than none at all because students are to afraid to ask. 3) Yes, free education might attract/support more lazy students, but they don’t prevent other countries from offering free education. 4) Bit of a Whataboutism, this is a different topic. One might argue that professors are public figures, though the ethics of ranking them are a different topic.
                          – Marv
                          Dec 3 at 21:58

                        • 21

                          “I don’t think that the objective was to ridiculize the students” – “Top 6 Most Stupid Questions” in bold letters including actual names. Really?
                          – dasdingonesin
                          Dec 4 at 10:28

                        • 27

                          It’s strange that the author of this answer believes that the first-name-last-initial format is adequately anonymous, yet chose as his handle “Mark S.” and not “Iaroslav B.”
                          – Will
                          Dec 4 at 11:48

                        • 6

                          @MarkS. If a professor sees you taking pictures and doesn’t say anything, he most likely doesn’t care. If he sees it and tells you to stop and you keep taking pictures, or if you do it without him noticing, then you already know you might be doing something that’s not okay. But again, this is a Whataboutism. This thread is about professors publishing personal data of students and students doing the same to professors doesn’t make it okay. Your argumenting with “an eye for an eye” logic.
                          – Marv
                          Dec 4 at 12:06

                        • 14

                          1) “First name – Last initial” isn’t the only information being shared. We’re also given their university, the fact that they’ve had this professor, and which year they had him in. That’s a tiny pool of people. 2) Objective is irrelevant against results. This is ridicule – plain and simple; it doesn’t matter if the professor didn’t intend it that way, and this also discourages asking any question out of fear it might be “dumb”. 3) This just makes no sense as a justification of any kind. 4) Because it’s a common rule of decency that in a position of authority, you don’t punch down.
                          – Lord Farquaad
                          Dec 5 at 20:03

                        protected by StrongBad Dec 4 at 12:26

                        Thank you for your interest in this question.
                        Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site (the association bonus does not count).

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                        7 Answers
                        7

                        active

                        oldest

                        votes

                        7 Answers
                        7

                        active

                        oldest

                        votes

                        active

                        oldest

                        votes

                        active

                        oldest

                        votes

                        up vote
                        376
                        down vote

                        accepted

                        No. This is completely unacceptable. Sometimes faculty rant on social media and email lists where they do not think students will see the comments. Even this is frowned upon if the student could realize it is them being made fun of. It is completely inappropriate to make fun of students on a public website with students names.

                        share|improve this answer

                        • 137

                          It is completely inappropriate to make fun of students on a public website, regardless of whether it includes student names or not.
                          – Gimelist
                          Dec 3 at 7:45

                        • 1

                          Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
                          – ff524
                          Dec 4 at 20:45

                        • Does the same apply to ex-students? There is nothing in the material quoted which rules out the possibility that all of the students quoted have graduated or otherwise left the institution.
                          – James Martin
                          2 days ago

                        • @JamesMartin ask in chat and I will happily give you an answer.
                          – StrongBad
                          2 days ago

                        • 3

                          I find it completely inappropriate to make fun of people trying to learn – full stop. I’d say calling that page “teaching.php” is really misleading.
                          – mgarciaisaia
                          yesterday

                        up vote
                        376
                        down vote

                        accepted

                        No. This is completely unacceptable. Sometimes faculty rant on social media and email lists where they do not think students will see the comments. Even this is frowned upon if the student could realize it is them being made fun of. It is completely inappropriate to make fun of students on a public website with students names.

                        share|improve this answer

                        • 137

                          It is completely inappropriate to make fun of students on a public website, regardless of whether it includes student names or not.
                          – Gimelist
                          Dec 3 at 7:45

                        • 1

                          Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
                          – ff524
                          Dec 4 at 20:45

                        • Does the same apply to ex-students? There is nothing in the material quoted which rules out the possibility that all of the students quoted have graduated or otherwise left the institution.
                          – James Martin
                          2 days ago

                        • @JamesMartin ask in chat and I will happily give you an answer.
                          – StrongBad
                          2 days ago

                        • 3

                          I find it completely inappropriate to make fun of people trying to learn – full stop. I’d say calling that page “teaching.php” is really misleading.
                          – mgarciaisaia
                          yesterday

                        up vote
                        376
                        down vote

                        accepted

                        up vote
                        376
                        down vote

                        accepted

                        No. This is completely unacceptable. Sometimes faculty rant on social media and email lists where they do not think students will see the comments. Even this is frowned upon if the student could realize it is them being made fun of. It is completely inappropriate to make fun of students on a public website with students names.

                        share|improve this answer

                        No. This is completely unacceptable. Sometimes faculty rant on social media and email lists where they do not think students will see the comments. Even this is frowned upon if the student could realize it is them being made fun of. It is completely inappropriate to make fun of students on a public website with students names.

                        share|improve this answer

                        share|improve this answer

                        share|improve this answer

                        answered Dec 3 at 0:33

                        StrongBad

                        82.1k23207406

                        82.1k23207406

                        • 137

                          It is completely inappropriate to make fun of students on a public website, regardless of whether it includes student names or not.
                          – Gimelist
                          Dec 3 at 7:45

                        • 1

                          Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
                          – ff524
                          Dec 4 at 20:45

                        • Does the same apply to ex-students? There is nothing in the material quoted which rules out the possibility that all of the students quoted have graduated or otherwise left the institution.
                          – James Martin
                          2 days ago

                        • @JamesMartin ask in chat and I will happily give you an answer.
                          – StrongBad
                          2 days ago

                        • 3

                          I find it completely inappropriate to make fun of people trying to learn – full stop. I’d say calling that page “teaching.php” is really misleading.
                          – mgarciaisaia
                          yesterday

                        • 137

                          It is completely inappropriate to make fun of students on a public website, regardless of whether it includes student names or not.
                          – Gimelist
                          Dec 3 at 7:45

                        • 1

                          Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
                          – ff524
                          Dec 4 at 20:45

                        • Does the same apply to ex-students? There is nothing in the material quoted which rules out the possibility that all of the students quoted have graduated or otherwise left the institution.
                          – James Martin
                          2 days ago

                        • @JamesMartin ask in chat and I will happily give you an answer.
                          – StrongBad
                          2 days ago

                        • 3

                          I find it completely inappropriate to make fun of people trying to learn – full stop. I’d say calling that page “teaching.php” is really misleading.
                          – mgarciaisaia
                          yesterday

                        137

                        137

                        It is completely inappropriate to make fun of students on a public website, regardless of whether it includes student names or not.
                        – Gimelist
                        Dec 3 at 7:45

                        It is completely inappropriate to make fun of students on a public website, regardless of whether it includes student names or not.
                        – Gimelist
                        Dec 3 at 7:45

                        1

                        1

                        Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
                        – ff524
                        Dec 4 at 20:45

                        Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
                        – ff524
                        Dec 4 at 20:45

                        Does the same apply to ex-students? There is nothing in the material quoted which rules out the possibility that all of the students quoted have graduated or otherwise left the institution.
                        – James Martin
                        2 days ago

                        Does the same apply to ex-students? There is nothing in the material quoted which rules out the possibility that all of the students quoted have graduated or otherwise left the institution.
                        – James Martin
                        2 days ago

                        @JamesMartin ask in chat and I will happily give you an answer.
                        – StrongBad
                        2 days ago

                        @JamesMartin ask in chat and I will happily give you an answer.
                        – StrongBad
                        2 days ago

                        3

                        3

                        I find it completely inappropriate to make fun of people trying to learn – full stop. I’d say calling that page “teaching.php” is really misleading.
                        – mgarciaisaia
                        yesterday

                        I find it completely inappropriate to make fun of people trying to learn – full stop. I’d say calling that page “teaching.php” is really misleading.
                        – mgarciaisaia
                        yesterday

                        up vote
                        200
                        down vote

                        In addition to StrongBad’s answer, this kind of behavior would also discourage students from asking questions in fear of finding themselves on the “stupid questions and answers” list. Given that “unacceptable” wasn’t defined further in the original question, I think this is also an important aspect that makes this sort of student shaming unacceptable. Except if the Professor doesn’t actually want any questions asked of course 🙂


                        I’d like to add that additionally, I don’t think posting photos of test answers online (like this specific professor did) is ethical or even legal. According to this website (archive link), handwriting is personal data according to the EUs GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) and can almost certainly not be published without permission.

                        share|improve this answer

                        • 56

                          I think this is an important answer, as it highlights that the consequences of riddiculing students for their answers is more far-reaching than just affecting the riddiculed students. As teachers, we should be encouraging the students to ask questions, not trying to deter them from it. Sure, everynow and then we will get a question that might seem “trivial”, but I’d much rather have that than not getting questions at all.
                          – Phil
                          Dec 3 at 9:16

                        • 38

                          xkcd.com/1053
                          – BurnsBA
                          Dec 3 at 14:43

                        • 16

                          Yup to all of this. I can almost guarantee that for every student with the courage to ask a “stupid question” there are half a dozen more who are keeping quiet and waiting for somebody else to ask.
                          – Geoffrey Brent
                          Dec 3 at 23:09

                        • Better link for whether handwriting is personal data since it deals with pretty much exactly this issue and references the court case.
                          – Voo
                          yesterday

                        up vote
                        200
                        down vote

                        In addition to StrongBad’s answer, this kind of behavior would also discourage students from asking questions in fear of finding themselves on the “stupid questions and answers” list. Given that “unacceptable” wasn’t defined further in the original question, I think this is also an important aspect that makes this sort of student shaming unacceptable. Except if the Professor doesn’t actually want any questions asked of course 🙂


                        I’d like to add that additionally, I don’t think posting photos of test answers online (like this specific professor did) is ethical or even legal. According to this website (archive link), handwriting is personal data according to the EUs GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) and can almost certainly not be published without permission.

                        share|improve this answer

                        • 56

                          I think this is an important answer, as it highlights that the consequences of riddiculing students for their answers is more far-reaching than just affecting the riddiculed students. As teachers, we should be encouraging the students to ask questions, not trying to deter them from it. Sure, everynow and then we will get a question that might seem “trivial”, but I’d much rather have that than not getting questions at all.
                          – Phil
                          Dec 3 at 9:16

                        • 38

                          xkcd.com/1053
                          – BurnsBA
                          Dec 3 at 14:43

                        • 16

                          Yup to all of this. I can almost guarantee that for every student with the courage to ask a “stupid question” there are half a dozen more who are keeping quiet and waiting for somebody else to ask.
                          – Geoffrey Brent
                          Dec 3 at 23:09

                        • Better link for whether handwriting is personal data since it deals with pretty much exactly this issue and references the court case.
                          – Voo
                          yesterday

                        up vote
                        200
                        down vote

                        up vote
                        200
                        down vote

                        In addition to StrongBad’s answer, this kind of behavior would also discourage students from asking questions in fear of finding themselves on the “stupid questions and answers” list. Given that “unacceptable” wasn’t defined further in the original question, I think this is also an important aspect that makes this sort of student shaming unacceptable. Except if the Professor doesn’t actually want any questions asked of course 🙂


                        I’d like to add that additionally, I don’t think posting photos of test answers online (like this specific professor did) is ethical or even legal. According to this website (archive link), handwriting is personal data according to the EUs GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) and can almost certainly not be published without permission.

                        share|improve this answer

                        In addition to StrongBad’s answer, this kind of behavior would also discourage students from asking questions in fear of finding themselves on the “stupid questions and answers” list. Given that “unacceptable” wasn’t defined further in the original question, I think this is also an important aspect that makes this sort of student shaming unacceptable. Except if the Professor doesn’t actually want any questions asked of course 🙂


                        I’d like to add that additionally, I don’t think posting photos of test answers online (like this specific professor did) is ethical or even legal. According to this website (archive link), handwriting is personal data according to the EUs GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) and can almost certainly not be published without permission.

                        share|improve this answer

                        share|improve this answer

                        share|improve this answer

                        edited Dec 5 at 7:47

                        answered Dec 3 at 8:09

                        Marv

                        1,229119

                        1,229119

                        • 56

                          I think this is an important answer, as it highlights that the consequences of riddiculing students for their answers is more far-reaching than just affecting the riddiculed students. As teachers, we should be encouraging the students to ask questions, not trying to deter them from it. Sure, everynow and then we will get a question that might seem “trivial”, but I’d much rather have that than not getting questions at all.
                          – Phil
                          Dec 3 at 9:16

                        • 38

                          xkcd.com/1053
                          – BurnsBA
                          Dec 3 at 14:43

                        • 16

                          Yup to all of this. I can almost guarantee that for every student with the courage to ask a “stupid question” there are half a dozen more who are keeping quiet and waiting for somebody else to ask.
                          – Geoffrey Brent
                          Dec 3 at 23:09

                        • Better link for whether handwriting is personal data since it deals with pretty much exactly this issue and references the court case.
                          – Voo
                          yesterday

                        • 56

                          I think this is an important answer, as it highlights that the consequences of riddiculing students for their answers is more far-reaching than just affecting the riddiculed students. As teachers, we should be encouraging the students to ask questions, not trying to deter them from it. Sure, everynow and then we will get a question that might seem “trivial”, but I’d much rather have that than not getting questions at all.
                          – Phil
                          Dec 3 at 9:16

                        • 38

                          xkcd.com/1053
                          – BurnsBA
                          Dec 3 at 14:43

                        • 16

                          Yup to all of this. I can almost guarantee that for every student with the courage to ask a “stupid question” there are half a dozen more who are keeping quiet and waiting for somebody else to ask.
                          – Geoffrey Brent
                          Dec 3 at 23:09

                        • Better link for whether handwriting is personal data since it deals with pretty much exactly this issue and references the court case.
                          – Voo
                          yesterday

                        56

                        56

                        I think this is an important answer, as it highlights that the consequences of riddiculing students for their answers is more far-reaching than just affecting the riddiculed students. As teachers, we should be encouraging the students to ask questions, not trying to deter them from it. Sure, everynow and then we will get a question that might seem “trivial”, but I’d much rather have that than not getting questions at all.
                        – Phil
                        Dec 3 at 9:16

                        I think this is an important answer, as it highlights that the consequences of riddiculing students for their answers is more far-reaching than just affecting the riddiculed students. As teachers, we should be encouraging the students to ask questions, not trying to deter them from it. Sure, everynow and then we will get a question that might seem “trivial”, but I’d much rather have that than not getting questions at all.
                        – Phil
                        Dec 3 at 9:16

                        38

                        38

                        xkcd.com/1053
                        – BurnsBA
                        Dec 3 at 14:43

                        xkcd.com/1053
                        – BurnsBA
                        Dec 3 at 14:43

                        16

                        16

                        Yup to all of this. I can almost guarantee that for every student with the courage to ask a “stupid question” there are half a dozen more who are keeping quiet and waiting for somebody else to ask.
                        – Geoffrey Brent
                        Dec 3 at 23:09

                        Yup to all of this. I can almost guarantee that for every student with the courage to ask a “stupid question” there are half a dozen more who are keeping quiet and waiting for somebody else to ask.
                        – Geoffrey Brent
                        Dec 3 at 23:09

                        Better link for whether handwriting is personal data since it deals with pretty much exactly this issue and references the court case.
                        – Voo
                        yesterday

                        Better link for whether handwriting is personal data since it deals with pretty much exactly this issue and references the court case.
                        – Voo
                        yesterday

                        up vote
                        70
                        down vote

                        It’s not only that such ridiculing is absolutely unacceptable and counterproductive (as others mentioned already) but it also puts the academic themselves in a kind of bad light as a lecturer/teacher. If my third year math/engineering students didn’t know what the cotangent is I would consider it much more of my own fault rather than theirs.

                        And most importantly, one shouldn’t be embarrassed of not knowing something but of not wanting to get to know it. Most people don’t even bother to ask a question even being proud of their ignorance sometimes. So I believe that no curiosity should be frowned upon.

                        UPDATE: Having said the above, it could still be considered a good attitude for a student to come up with some answer themselves (i.e. do some research/thinking) prior to asking their professor a question.

                        share|improve this answer

                        • 18

                          +1 for putting the onus back on the lecturer for the student lack of knowledge. I also like your point about “no curiosity should be frowned upon”. I’ve got a friend who has been teaching in another part of the world for a number of years. He’s run into an interesting cultural issue, where the students are bought up to accept things without questioning anything. Obviously this can cause some big problems. Imagine having students who don’t question any basic assumptions, ever. They’re good at learning things as rote, but cannot handle problems outside of exactly what they’ve been taught.
                          – Doctor Jones
                          Dec 3 at 12:14

                        • 4

                          This echoes my thoughts, except that I’d add it’s either my fault, or else the collective fault of the institutional program. (Maybe it’s something that should have been taught in a prerequisite, but it wasn’t taught well.) “Despite the extreme simplicity of this question, many students did not respond correctly” – that sounds like an indictment on the professor! Also, a note on your update: That might not apply in the middle of a lecture, when I’ve just mentioned something, so there’s no time for a student to do the research.
                          – J.R.
                          Dec 3 at 15:24

                        • 7

                          Blaming the professor or “system” makes sense if every student does not know basic facts. But most students will, the dumb questions come from a select few. Also engineering students generally need to cover trig (and more) in high school.
                          – A Simple Algorithm
                          Dec 3 at 17:54

                        • 1

                          @A Simple Algorithm still the professor/system’s fault. No student should get to the 3rd year not knowing the basics either by being taught appropriately or by being kicked out of the establishment.
                          – ayorgo
                          Dec 3 at 18:04

                        • 7

                          @ASimpleAlgorithm – From the OP’s graphic: What is a decibel? – several 4th-year students. If several 4th-year students don’t know what a decibel is, and the professor feels like that’s a “Most Stupid Question,” then it might be time to take a hard look at the curriculum. And “covering trig in high school” doesn’t mean everyone has what they learned three years ago locked into short-term memory.
                          – J.R.
                          Dec 3 at 18:13

                        up vote
                        70
                        down vote

                        It’s not only that such ridiculing is absolutely unacceptable and counterproductive (as others mentioned already) but it also puts the academic themselves in a kind of bad light as a lecturer/teacher. If my third year math/engineering students didn’t know what the cotangent is I would consider it much more of my own fault rather than theirs.

                        And most importantly, one shouldn’t be embarrassed of not knowing something but of not wanting to get to know it. Most people don’t even bother to ask a question even being proud of their ignorance sometimes. So I believe that no curiosity should be frowned upon.

                        UPDATE: Having said the above, it could still be considered a good attitude for a student to come up with some answer themselves (i.e. do some research/thinking) prior to asking their professor a question.

                        share|improve this answer

                        • 18

                          +1 for putting the onus back on the lecturer for the student lack of knowledge. I also like your point about “no curiosity should be frowned upon”. I’ve got a friend who has been teaching in another part of the world for a number of years. He’s run into an interesting cultural issue, where the students are bought up to accept things without questioning anything. Obviously this can cause some big problems. Imagine having students who don’t question any basic assumptions, ever. They’re good at learning things as rote, but cannot handle problems outside of exactly what they’ve been taught.
                          – Doctor Jones
                          Dec 3 at 12:14

                        • 4

                          This echoes my thoughts, except that I’d add it’s either my fault, or else the collective fault of the institutional program. (Maybe it’s something that should have been taught in a prerequisite, but it wasn’t taught well.) “Despite the extreme simplicity of this question, many students did not respond correctly” – that sounds like an indictment on the professor! Also, a note on your update: That might not apply in the middle of a lecture, when I’ve just mentioned something, so there’s no time for a student to do the research.
                          – J.R.
                          Dec 3 at 15:24

                        • 7

                          Blaming the professor or “system” makes sense if every student does not know basic facts. But most students will, the dumb questions come from a select few. Also engineering students generally need to cover trig (and more) in high school.
                          – A Simple Algorithm
                          Dec 3 at 17:54

                        • 1

                          @A Simple Algorithm still the professor/system’s fault. No student should get to the 3rd year not knowing the basics either by being taught appropriately or by being kicked out of the establishment.
                          – ayorgo
                          Dec 3 at 18:04

                        • 7

                          @ASimpleAlgorithm – From the OP’s graphic: What is a decibel? – several 4th-year students. If several 4th-year students don’t know what a decibel is, and the professor feels like that’s a “Most Stupid Question,” then it might be time to take a hard look at the curriculum. And “covering trig in high school” doesn’t mean everyone has what they learned three years ago locked into short-term memory.
                          – J.R.
                          Dec 3 at 18:13

                        up vote
                        70
                        down vote

                        up vote
                        70
                        down vote

                        It’s not only that such ridiculing is absolutely unacceptable and counterproductive (as others mentioned already) but it also puts the academic themselves in a kind of bad light as a lecturer/teacher. If my third year math/engineering students didn’t know what the cotangent is I would consider it much more of my own fault rather than theirs.

                        And most importantly, one shouldn’t be embarrassed of not knowing something but of not wanting to get to know it. Most people don’t even bother to ask a question even being proud of their ignorance sometimes. So I believe that no curiosity should be frowned upon.

                        UPDATE: Having said the above, it could still be considered a good attitude for a student to come up with some answer themselves (i.e. do some research/thinking) prior to asking their professor a question.

                        share|improve this answer

                        It’s not only that such ridiculing is absolutely unacceptable and counterproductive (as others mentioned already) but it also puts the academic themselves in a kind of bad light as a lecturer/teacher. If my third year math/engineering students didn’t know what the cotangent is I would consider it much more of my own fault rather than theirs.

                        And most importantly, one shouldn’t be embarrassed of not knowing something but of not wanting to get to know it. Most people don’t even bother to ask a question even being proud of their ignorance sometimes. So I believe that no curiosity should be frowned upon.

                        UPDATE: Having said the above, it could still be considered a good attitude for a student to come up with some answer themselves (i.e. do some research/thinking) prior to asking their professor a question.

                        share|improve this answer

                        share|improve this answer

                        share|improve this answer

                        edited Dec 3 at 17:10

                        answered Dec 3 at 11:54

                        ayorgo

                        76116

                        76116

                        • 18

                          +1 for putting the onus back on the lecturer for the student lack of knowledge. I also like your point about “no curiosity should be frowned upon”. I’ve got a friend who has been teaching in another part of the world for a number of years. He’s run into an interesting cultural issue, where the students are bought up to accept things without questioning anything. Obviously this can cause some big problems. Imagine having students who don’t question any basic assumptions, ever. They’re good at learning things as rote, but cannot handle problems outside of exactly what they’ve been taught.
                          – Doctor Jones
                          Dec 3 at 12:14

                        • 4

                          This echoes my thoughts, except that I’d add it’s either my fault, or else the collective fault of the institutional program. (Maybe it’s something that should have been taught in a prerequisite, but it wasn’t taught well.) “Despite the extreme simplicity of this question, many students did not respond correctly” – that sounds like an indictment on the professor! Also, a note on your update: That might not apply in the middle of a lecture, when I’ve just mentioned something, so there’s no time for a student to do the research.
                          – J.R.
                          Dec 3 at 15:24

                        • 7

                          Blaming the professor or “system” makes sense if every student does not know basic facts. But most students will, the dumb questions come from a select few. Also engineering students generally need to cover trig (and more) in high school.
                          – A Simple Algorithm
                          Dec 3 at 17:54

                        • 1

                          @A Simple Algorithm still the professor/system’s fault. No student should get to the 3rd year not knowing the basics either by being taught appropriately or by being kicked out of the establishment.
                          – ayorgo
                          Dec 3 at 18:04

                        • 7

                          @ASimpleAlgorithm – From the OP’s graphic: What is a decibel? – several 4th-year students. If several 4th-year students don’t know what a decibel is, and the professor feels like that’s a “Most Stupid Question,” then it might be time to take a hard look at the curriculum. And “covering trig in high school” doesn’t mean everyone has what they learned three years ago locked into short-term memory.
                          – J.R.
                          Dec 3 at 18:13

                        • 18

                          +1 for putting the onus back on the lecturer for the student lack of knowledge. I also like your point about “no curiosity should be frowned upon”. I’ve got a friend who has been teaching in another part of the world for a number of years. He’s run into an interesting cultural issue, where the students are bought up to accept things without questioning anything. Obviously this can cause some big problems. Imagine having students who don’t question any basic assumptions, ever. They’re good at learning things as rote, but cannot handle problems outside of exactly what they’ve been taught.
                          – Doctor Jones
                          Dec 3 at 12:14

                        • 4

                          This echoes my thoughts, except that I’d add it’s either my fault, or else the collective fault of the institutional program. (Maybe it’s something that should have been taught in a prerequisite, but it wasn’t taught well.) “Despite the extreme simplicity of this question, many students did not respond correctly” – that sounds like an indictment on the professor! Also, a note on your update: That might not apply in the middle of a lecture, when I’ve just mentioned something, so there’s no time for a student to do the research.
                          – J.R.
                          Dec 3 at 15:24

                        • 7

                          Blaming the professor or “system” makes sense if every student does not know basic facts. But most students will, the dumb questions come from a select few. Also engineering students generally need to cover trig (and more) in high school.
                          – A Simple Algorithm
                          Dec 3 at 17:54

                        • 1

                          @A Simple Algorithm still the professor/system’s fault. No student should get to the 3rd year not knowing the basics either by being taught appropriately or by being kicked out of the establishment.
                          – ayorgo
                          Dec 3 at 18:04

                        • 7

                          @ASimpleAlgorithm – From the OP’s graphic: What is a decibel? – several 4th-year students. If several 4th-year students don’t know what a decibel is, and the professor feels like that’s a “Most Stupid Question,” then it might be time to take a hard look at the curriculum. And “covering trig in high school” doesn’t mean everyone has what they learned three years ago locked into short-term memory.
                          – J.R.
                          Dec 3 at 18:13

                        18

                        18

                        +1 for putting the onus back on the lecturer for the student lack of knowledge. I also like your point about “no curiosity should be frowned upon”. I’ve got a friend who has been teaching in another part of the world for a number of years. He’s run into an interesting cultural issue, where the students are bought up to accept things without questioning anything. Obviously this can cause some big problems. Imagine having students who don’t question any basic assumptions, ever. They’re good at learning things as rote, but cannot handle problems outside of exactly what they’ve been taught.
                        – Doctor Jones
                        Dec 3 at 12:14

                        +1 for putting the onus back on the lecturer for the student lack of knowledge. I also like your point about “no curiosity should be frowned upon”. I’ve got a friend who has been teaching in another part of the world for a number of years. He’s run into an interesting cultural issue, where the students are bought up to accept things without questioning anything. Obviously this can cause some big problems. Imagine having students who don’t question any basic assumptions, ever. They’re good at learning things as rote, but cannot handle problems outside of exactly what they’ve been taught.
                        – Doctor Jones
                        Dec 3 at 12:14

                        4

                        4

                        This echoes my thoughts, except that I’d add it’s either my fault, or else the collective fault of the institutional program. (Maybe it’s something that should have been taught in a prerequisite, but it wasn’t taught well.) “Despite the extreme simplicity of this question, many students did not respond correctly” – that sounds like an indictment on the professor! Also, a note on your update: That might not apply in the middle of a lecture, when I’ve just mentioned something, so there’s no time for a student to do the research.
                        – J.R.
                        Dec 3 at 15:24

                        This echoes my thoughts, except that I’d add it’s either my fault, or else the collective fault of the institutional program. (Maybe it’s something that should have been taught in a prerequisite, but it wasn’t taught well.) “Despite the extreme simplicity of this question, many students did not respond correctly” – that sounds like an indictment on the professor! Also, a note on your update: That might not apply in the middle of a lecture, when I’ve just mentioned something, so there’s no time for a student to do the research.
                        – J.R.
                        Dec 3 at 15:24

                        7

                        7

                        Blaming the professor or “system” makes sense if every student does not know basic facts. But most students will, the dumb questions come from a select few. Also engineering students generally need to cover trig (and more) in high school.
                        – A Simple Algorithm
                        Dec 3 at 17:54

                        Blaming the professor or “system” makes sense if every student does not know basic facts. But most students will, the dumb questions come from a select few. Also engineering students generally need to cover trig (and more) in high school.
                        – A Simple Algorithm
                        Dec 3 at 17:54

                        1

                        1

                        @A Simple Algorithm still the professor/system’s fault. No student should get to the 3rd year not knowing the basics either by being taught appropriately or by being kicked out of the establishment.
                        – ayorgo
                        Dec 3 at 18:04

                        @A Simple Algorithm still the professor/system’s fault. No student should get to the 3rd year not knowing the basics either by being taught appropriately or by being kicked out of the establishment.
                        – ayorgo
                        Dec 3 at 18:04

                        7

                        7

                        @ASimpleAlgorithm – From the OP’s graphic: What is a decibel? – several 4th-year students. If several 4th-year students don’t know what a decibel is, and the professor feels like that’s a “Most Stupid Question,” then it might be time to take a hard look at the curriculum. And “covering trig in high school” doesn’t mean everyone has what they learned three years ago locked into short-term memory.
                        – J.R.
                        Dec 3 at 18:13

                        @ASimpleAlgorithm – From the OP’s graphic: What is a decibel? – several 4th-year students. If several 4th-year students don’t know what a decibel is, and the professor feels like that’s a “Most Stupid Question,” then it might be time to take a hard look at the curriculum. And “covering trig in high school” doesn’t mean everyone has what they learned three years ago locked into short-term memory.
                        – J.R.
                        Dec 3 at 18:13

                        up vote
                        17
                        down vote

                        This is a bad taste, for sure (IMHO), but since there are plenty of websites where students are more than welcome to tell anything they want about their professors with full names etc., I guess this may be viewed as a kind of “symmetric response”. I’m pretty much against internet trashing of anybody (usually it does more bad than good for all parties involved) but, alas, it has became a pretty common culture nowadays, so I am not surprised that some professors resort to it too.

                        As to the questions listed, they do not show stupidity, just utter ignorance, so I personally would object more to calling them “stupid questions” than to listing the student names. If a third year student asks me what a geometric progression is, I just answer with a definition and an example and consider the case closed. Moreover, I can openly announce that at the moment of this writing I don’t remember what exactly a decibel is myself. All I remember is that it is a unit of measure of sound intensity and that the scale is logarithmic. If the student is not able to process an answer appropriately, it is, of course, a completely different story, but if one just doesn’t know something, there is no shame in asking.

                        This means that I would neither call such questions stupid, nor list the names myself and would, probably, discourage my friends from doing so, but I wouldn’t cry out loud “Unforgivable crime!” or “Unethical behavior!” if I see somebody else doing it either. For me it is bad taste, period.

                        That was the “common sense” part. As to the legal part, it is country dependent and I’m not really familiar enough with the European laws to discuss the corresponding subtleties.

                        share|improve this answer

                        • 13

                          “They did it first” is not an acceptable defense, especially when it’s likely that the “they” in this case have nothing to do with the “it.”
                          – fluffy
                          Dec 5 at 4:07

                        • 22

                          -1 There is an enormous power imbalance between lecturers and their students. As a result, for a student to complain about a lecturer is often petty and immature, but for a lecturer to publicly complain about individual students by name is always abusive. This is not, as you claim, a “symmetric response.”
                          – Kevin
                          Dec 5 at 18:35

                        • 4

                          -1 Also, teachers are paid to teach students and answer questions. What if a restaurant publishes a list of “things stupid customers do”? Students are obliged to abide by a set of rules indeed, but “no stupid questions” is not one of them. Asking what cotangent is would embarrass the student badly and perhaps signal that the student shouldn’t have been there, but it is not a “wrong” thing to do. In fact, the student is being responsible to themself, as they asked questions when they do not understand.
                          – xuq01
                          Dec 5 at 21:28

                        • 4

                          @fedja You seem to be confused. People want education so that they can form a career. They (or the government) pays other people for that education. So, unless you’re not being paid, then you’re providing a service, by the literal definition. Also, I find your notion’s about ratings delusional. A student does not need to be an expert in Physics to know that their science professor is bad at teaching others. If you want to “pass on the knowledge you possess”, do it for free. Otherwise, offer your services for money, and be subject to those who want to be informed before spending money.
                          – Clay07g
                          Dec 7 at 2:44

                        • 4

                          @xuq01 There are lists where employees rant about customers, and it’s a fun read. Yet the important part is that it’s fully anonymous, for entertainment or insight into the daily life of said jobs, not to trash a particular person, which doesn’t apply here.
                          – Darkwing
                          Dec 7 at 14:01

                        up vote
                        17
                        down vote

                        This is a bad taste, for sure (IMHO), but since there are plenty of websites where students are more than welcome to tell anything they want about their professors with full names etc., I guess this may be viewed as a kind of “symmetric response”. I’m pretty much against internet trashing of anybody (usually it does more bad than good for all parties involved) but, alas, it has became a pretty common culture nowadays, so I am not surprised that some professors resort to it too.

                        As to the questions listed, they do not show stupidity, just utter ignorance, so I personally would object more to calling them “stupid questions” than to listing the student names. If a third year student asks me what a geometric progression is, I just answer with a definition and an example and consider the case closed. Moreover, I can openly announce that at the moment of this writing I don’t remember what exactly a decibel is myself. All I remember is that it is a unit of measure of sound intensity and that the scale is logarithmic. If the student is not able to process an answer appropriately, it is, of course, a completely different story, but if one just doesn’t know something, there is no shame in asking.

                        This means that I would neither call such questions stupid, nor list the names myself and would, probably, discourage my friends from doing so, but I wouldn’t cry out loud “Unforgivable crime!” or “Unethical behavior!” if I see somebody else doing it either. For me it is bad taste, period.

                        That was the “common sense” part. As to the legal part, it is country dependent and I’m not really familiar enough with the European laws to discuss the corresponding subtleties.

                        share|improve this answer

                        • 13

                          “They did it first” is not an acceptable defense, especially when it’s likely that the “they” in this case have nothing to do with the “it.”
                          – fluffy
                          Dec 5 at 4:07

                        • 22

                          -1 There is an enormous power imbalance between lecturers and their students. As a result, for a student to complain about a lecturer is often petty and immature, but for a lecturer to publicly complain about individual students by name is always abusive. This is not, as you claim, a “symmetric response.”
                          – Kevin
                          Dec 5 at 18:35

                        • 4

                          -1 Also, teachers are paid to teach students and answer questions. What if a restaurant publishes a list of “things stupid customers do”? Students are obliged to abide by a set of rules indeed, but “no stupid questions” is not one of them. Asking what cotangent is would embarrass the student badly and perhaps signal that the student shouldn’t have been there, but it is not a “wrong” thing to do. In fact, the student is being responsible to themself, as they asked questions when they do not understand.
                          – xuq01
                          Dec 5 at 21:28

                        • 4

                          @fedja You seem to be confused. People want education so that they can form a career. They (or the government) pays other people for that education. So, unless you’re not being paid, then you’re providing a service, by the literal definition. Also, I find your notion’s about ratings delusional. A student does not need to be an expert in Physics to know that their science professor is bad at teaching others. If you want to “pass on the knowledge you possess”, do it for free. Otherwise, offer your services for money, and be subject to those who want to be informed before spending money.
                          – Clay07g
                          Dec 7 at 2:44

                        • 4

                          @xuq01 There are lists where employees rant about customers, and it’s a fun read. Yet the important part is that it’s fully anonymous, for entertainment or insight into the daily life of said jobs, not to trash a particular person, which doesn’t apply here.
                          – Darkwing
                          Dec 7 at 14:01

                        up vote
                        17
                        down vote

                        up vote
                        17
                        down vote

                        This is a bad taste, for sure (IMHO), but since there are plenty of websites where students are more than welcome to tell anything they want about their professors with full names etc., I guess this may be viewed as a kind of “symmetric response”. I’m pretty much against internet trashing of anybody (usually it does more bad than good for all parties involved) but, alas, it has became a pretty common culture nowadays, so I am not surprised that some professors resort to it too.

                        As to the questions listed, they do not show stupidity, just utter ignorance, so I personally would object more to calling them “stupid questions” than to listing the student names. If a third year student asks me what a geometric progression is, I just answer with a definition and an example and consider the case closed. Moreover, I can openly announce that at the moment of this writing I don’t remember what exactly a decibel is myself. All I remember is that it is a unit of measure of sound intensity and that the scale is logarithmic. If the student is not able to process an answer appropriately, it is, of course, a completely different story, but if one just doesn’t know something, there is no shame in asking.

                        This means that I would neither call such questions stupid, nor list the names myself and would, probably, discourage my friends from doing so, but I wouldn’t cry out loud “Unforgivable crime!” or “Unethical behavior!” if I see somebody else doing it either. For me it is bad taste, period.

                        That was the “common sense” part. As to the legal part, it is country dependent and I’m not really familiar enough with the European laws to discuss the corresponding subtleties.

                        share|improve this answer

                        This is a bad taste, for sure (IMHO), but since there are plenty of websites where students are more than welcome to tell anything they want about their professors with full names etc., I guess this may be viewed as a kind of “symmetric response”. I’m pretty much against internet trashing of anybody (usually it does more bad than good for all parties involved) but, alas, it has became a pretty common culture nowadays, so I am not surprised that some professors resort to it too.

                        As to the questions listed, they do not show stupidity, just utter ignorance, so I personally would object more to calling them “stupid questions” than to listing the student names. If a third year student asks me what a geometric progression is, I just answer with a definition and an example and consider the case closed. Moreover, I can openly announce that at the moment of this writing I don’t remember what exactly a decibel is myself. All I remember is that it is a unit of measure of sound intensity and that the scale is logarithmic. If the student is not able to process an answer appropriately, it is, of course, a completely different story, but if one just doesn’t know something, there is no shame in asking.

                        This means that I would neither call such questions stupid, nor list the names myself and would, probably, discourage my friends from doing so, but I wouldn’t cry out loud “Unforgivable crime!” or “Unethical behavior!” if I see somebody else doing it either. For me it is bad taste, period.

                        That was the “common sense” part. As to the legal part, it is country dependent and I’m not really familiar enough with the European laws to discuss the corresponding subtleties.

                        share|improve this answer

                        share|improve this answer

                        share|improve this answer

                        answered Dec 3 at 23:34

                        fedja

                        6,6521030

                        6,6521030

                        • 13

                          “They did it first” is not an acceptable defense, especially when it’s likely that the “they” in this case have nothing to do with the “it.”
                          – fluffy
                          Dec 5 at 4:07

                        • 22

                          -1 There is an enormous power imbalance between lecturers and their students. As a result, for a student to complain about a lecturer is often petty and immature, but for a lecturer to publicly complain about individual students by name is always abusive. This is not, as you claim, a “symmetric response.”
                          – Kevin
                          Dec 5 at 18:35

                        • 4

                          -1 Also, teachers are paid to teach students and answer questions. What if a restaurant publishes a list of “things stupid customers do”? Students are obliged to abide by a set of rules indeed, but “no stupid questions” is not one of them. Asking what cotangent is would embarrass the student badly and perhaps signal that the student shouldn’t have been there, but it is not a “wrong” thing to do. In fact, the student is being responsible to themself, as they asked questions when they do not understand.
                          – xuq01
                          Dec 5 at 21:28

                        • 4

                          @fedja You seem to be confused. People want education so that they can form a career. They (or the government) pays other people for that education. So, unless you’re not being paid, then you’re providing a service, by the literal definition. Also, I find your notion’s about ratings delusional. A student does not need to be an expert in Physics to know that their science professor is bad at teaching others. If you want to “pass on the knowledge you possess”, do it for free. Otherwise, offer your services for money, and be subject to those who want to be informed before spending money.
                          – Clay07g
                          Dec 7 at 2:44

                        • 4

                          @xuq01 There are lists where employees rant about customers, and it’s a fun read. Yet the important part is that it’s fully anonymous, for entertainment or insight into the daily life of said jobs, not to trash a particular person, which doesn’t apply here.
                          – Darkwing
                          Dec 7 at 14:01

                        • 13

                          “They did it first” is not an acceptable defense, especially when it’s likely that the “they” in this case have nothing to do with the “it.”
                          – fluffy
                          Dec 5 at 4:07

                        • 22

                          -1 There is an enormous power imbalance between lecturers and their students. As a result, for a student to complain about a lecturer is often petty and immature, but for a lecturer to publicly complain about individual students by name is always abusive. This is not, as you claim, a “symmetric response.”
                          – Kevin
                          Dec 5 at 18:35

                        • 4

                          -1 Also, teachers are paid to teach students and answer questions. What if a restaurant publishes a list of “things stupid customers do”? Students are obliged to abide by a set of rules indeed, but “no stupid questions” is not one of them. Asking what cotangent is would embarrass the student badly and perhaps signal that the student shouldn’t have been there, but it is not a “wrong” thing to do. In fact, the student is being responsible to themself, as they asked questions when they do not understand.
                          – xuq01
                          Dec 5 at 21:28

                        • 4

                          @fedja You seem to be confused. People want education so that they can form a career. They (or the government) pays other people for that education. So, unless you’re not being paid, then you’re providing a service, by the literal definition. Also, I find your notion’s about ratings delusional. A student does not need to be an expert in Physics to know that their science professor is bad at teaching others. If you want to “pass on the knowledge you possess”, do it for free. Otherwise, offer your services for money, and be subject to those who want to be informed before spending money.
                          – Clay07g
                          Dec 7 at 2:44

                        • 4

                          @xuq01 There are lists where employees rant about customers, and it’s a fun read. Yet the important part is that it’s fully anonymous, for entertainment or insight into the daily life of said jobs, not to trash a particular person, which doesn’t apply here.
                          – Darkwing
                          Dec 7 at 14:01

                        13

                        13

                        “They did it first” is not an acceptable defense, especially when it’s likely that the “they” in this case have nothing to do with the “it.”
                        – fluffy
                        Dec 5 at 4:07

                        “They did it first” is not an acceptable defense, especially when it’s likely that the “they” in this case have nothing to do with the “it.”
                        – fluffy
                        Dec 5 at 4:07

                        22

                        22

                        -1 There is an enormous power imbalance between lecturers and their students. As a result, for a student to complain about a lecturer is often petty and immature, but for a lecturer to publicly complain about individual students by name is always abusive. This is not, as you claim, a “symmetric response.”
                        – Kevin
                        Dec 5 at 18:35

                        -1 There is an enormous power imbalance between lecturers and their students. As a result, for a student to complain about a lecturer is often petty and immature, but for a lecturer to publicly complain about individual students by name is always abusive. This is not, as you claim, a “symmetric response.”
                        – Kevin
                        Dec 5 at 18:35

                        4

                        4

                        -1 Also, teachers are paid to teach students and answer questions. What if a restaurant publishes a list of “things stupid customers do”? Students are obliged to abide by a set of rules indeed, but “no stupid questions” is not one of them. Asking what cotangent is would embarrass the student badly and perhaps signal that the student shouldn’t have been there, but it is not a “wrong” thing to do. In fact, the student is being responsible to themself, as they asked questions when they do not understand.
                        – xuq01
                        Dec 5 at 21:28

                        -1 Also, teachers are paid to teach students and answer questions. What if a restaurant publishes a list of “things stupid customers do”? Students are obliged to abide by a set of rules indeed, but “no stupid questions” is not one of them. Asking what cotangent is would embarrass the student badly and perhaps signal that the student shouldn’t have been there, but it is not a “wrong” thing to do. In fact, the student is being responsible to themself, as they asked questions when they do not understand.
                        – xuq01
                        Dec 5 at 21:28

                        4

                        4

                        @fedja You seem to be confused. People want education so that they can form a career. They (or the government) pays other people for that education. So, unless you’re not being paid, then you’re providing a service, by the literal definition. Also, I find your notion’s about ratings delusional. A student does not need to be an expert in Physics to know that their science professor is bad at teaching others. If you want to “pass on the knowledge you possess”, do it for free. Otherwise, offer your services for money, and be subject to those who want to be informed before spending money.
                        – Clay07g
                        Dec 7 at 2:44

                        @fedja You seem to be confused. People want education so that they can form a career. They (or the government) pays other people for that education. So, unless you’re not being paid, then you’re providing a service, by the literal definition. Also, I find your notion’s about ratings delusional. A student does not need to be an expert in Physics to know that their science professor is bad at teaching others. If you want to “pass on the knowledge you possess”, do it for free. Otherwise, offer your services for money, and be subject to those who want to be informed before spending money.
                        – Clay07g
                        Dec 7 at 2:44

                        4

                        4

                        @xuq01 There are lists where employees rant about customers, and it’s a fun read. Yet the important part is that it’s fully anonymous, for entertainment or insight into the daily life of said jobs, not to trash a particular person, which doesn’t apply here.
                        – Darkwing
                        Dec 7 at 14:01

                        @xuq01 There are lists where employees rant about customers, and it’s a fun read. Yet the important part is that it’s fully anonymous, for entertainment or insight into the daily life of said jobs, not to trash a particular person, which doesn’t apply here.
                        – Darkwing
                        Dec 7 at 14:01

                        up vote
                        12
                        down vote

                        Not only the ethic behind this is very doubtful as StrongBad said, but this is also probably illegal under the loi informatique et liberté & the GDPR because it falls under the definition of “Donnée Personnelle” (see the CNIL definition). If someone decide to warn the CNIL about this page, it could put the university and the teacher at risk.

                        share|improve this answer

                        • 1

                          Accordingly to CNIL site the first name (le prénom) is not a personal data.
                          – Mark S.
                          Dec 4 at 12:17

                        • 10

                          “Nom” is a catch all word. I can mean the familly name or a full name. In anycase, you have to add to this that the university of the student and the year they were in is also mentioned which would make it trivial to identify the student. How many “Mathieu C.” in ISITV had Iaroslav Blagouchine has a teacher in 3rd Year in the Higher Mathematics class ?
                          – Maeln
                          Dec 4 at 12:23

                        • 14

                          Because personal data are any information that identify someone directly or indirectly. Here the mention of the university name and the year they were in (plus the teacher name and the name of the class) would be considered indirect personal data when mixed with a mention of their (not full) name.
                          – Maeln
                          Dec 4 at 12:24

                        • 3

                          @MarkS. I don’t disagree with you (although getting a students list through alumini network is usually fairly easy), but it doesn’t matter what we think. If the CNIL decide that this is personal data and if there is no trace that student gave explicit consent to appear in this list, then it is illegal.
                          – Maeln
                          Dec 5 at 9:36

                        • 2

                          @MarkS. yeah, lucky students who were given common first names at birth. But if your first name is Robinson or Zeus or Orion or Kami or Iaroslav, then you’re out of luck?
                          – Cœur
                          15 hours ago

                        up vote
                        12
                        down vote

                        Not only the ethic behind this is very doubtful as StrongBad said, but this is also probably illegal under the loi informatique et liberté & the GDPR because it falls under the definition of “Donnée Personnelle” (see the CNIL definition). If someone decide to warn the CNIL about this page, it could put the university and the teacher at risk.

                        share|improve this answer

                        • 1

                          Accordingly to CNIL site the first name (le prénom) is not a personal data.
                          – Mark S.
                          Dec 4 at 12:17

                        • 10

                          “Nom” is a catch all word. I can mean the familly name or a full name. In anycase, you have to add to this that the university of the student and the year they were in is also mentioned which would make it trivial to identify the student. How many “Mathieu C.” in ISITV had Iaroslav Blagouchine has a teacher in 3rd Year in the Higher Mathematics class ?
                          – Maeln
                          Dec 4 at 12:23

                        • 14

                          Because personal data are any information that identify someone directly or indirectly. Here the mention of the university name and the year they were in (plus the teacher name and the name of the class) would be considered indirect personal data when mixed with a mention of their (not full) name.
                          – Maeln
                          Dec 4 at 12:24

                        • 3

                          @MarkS. I don’t disagree with you (although getting a students list through alumini network is usually fairly easy), but it doesn’t matter what we think. If the CNIL decide that this is personal data and if there is no trace that student gave explicit consent to appear in this list, then it is illegal.
                          – Maeln
                          Dec 5 at 9:36

                        • 2

                          @MarkS. yeah, lucky students who were given common first names at birth. But if your first name is Robinson or Zeus or Orion or Kami or Iaroslav, then you’re out of luck?
                          – Cœur
                          15 hours ago

                        up vote
                        12
                        down vote

                        up vote
                        12
                        down vote

                        Not only the ethic behind this is very doubtful as StrongBad said, but this is also probably illegal under the loi informatique et liberté & the GDPR because it falls under the definition of “Donnée Personnelle” (see the CNIL definition). If someone decide to warn the CNIL about this page, it could put the university and the teacher at risk.

                        share|improve this answer

                        Not only the ethic behind this is very doubtful as StrongBad said, but this is also probably illegal under the loi informatique et liberté & the GDPR because it falls under the definition of “Donnée Personnelle” (see the CNIL definition). If someone decide to warn the CNIL about this page, it could put the university and the teacher at risk.

                        share|improve this answer

                        share|improve this answer

                        share|improve this answer

                        edited Dec 5 at 5:57

                        V2Blast

                        14818

                        14818

                        answered Dec 4 at 12:01

                        Maeln

                        1213

                        1213

                        • 1

                          Accordingly to CNIL site the first name (le prénom) is not a personal data.
                          – Mark S.
                          Dec 4 at 12:17

                        • 10

                          “Nom” is a catch all word. I can mean the familly name or a full name. In anycase, you have to add to this that the university of the student and the year they were in is also mentioned which would make it trivial to identify the student. How many “Mathieu C.” in ISITV had Iaroslav Blagouchine has a teacher in 3rd Year in the Higher Mathematics class ?
                          – Maeln
                          Dec 4 at 12:23

                        • 14

                          Because personal data are any information that identify someone directly or indirectly. Here the mention of the university name and the year they were in (plus the teacher name and the name of the class) would be considered indirect personal data when mixed with a mention of their (not full) name.
                          – Maeln
                          Dec 4 at 12:24

                        • 3

                          @MarkS. I don’t disagree with you (although getting a students list through alumini network is usually fairly easy), but it doesn’t matter what we think. If the CNIL decide that this is personal data and if there is no trace that student gave explicit consent to appear in this list, then it is illegal.
                          – Maeln
                          Dec 5 at 9:36

                        • 2

                          @MarkS. yeah, lucky students who were given common first names at birth. But if your first name is Robinson or Zeus or Orion or Kami or Iaroslav, then you’re out of luck?
                          – Cœur
                          15 hours ago

                        • 1

                          Accordingly to CNIL site the first name (le prénom) is not a personal data.
                          – Mark S.
                          Dec 4 at 12:17

                        • 10

                          “Nom” is a catch all word. I can mean the familly name or a full name. In anycase, you have to add to this that the university of the student and the year they were in is also mentioned which would make it trivial to identify the student. How many “Mathieu C.” in ISITV had Iaroslav Blagouchine has a teacher in 3rd Year in the Higher Mathematics class ?
                          – Maeln
                          Dec 4 at 12:23

                        • 14

                          Because personal data are any information that identify someone directly or indirectly. Here the mention of the university name and the year they were in (plus the teacher name and the name of the class) would be considered indirect personal data when mixed with a mention of their (not full) name.
                          – Maeln
                          Dec 4 at 12:24

                        • 3

                          @MarkS. I don’t disagree with you (although getting a students list through alumini network is usually fairly easy), but it doesn’t matter what we think. If the CNIL decide that this is personal data and if there is no trace that student gave explicit consent to appear in this list, then it is illegal.
                          – Maeln
                          Dec 5 at 9:36

                        • 2

                          @MarkS. yeah, lucky students who were given common first names at birth. But if your first name is Robinson or Zeus or Orion or Kami or Iaroslav, then you’re out of luck?
                          – Cœur
                          15 hours ago

                        1

                        1

                        Accordingly to CNIL site the first name (le prénom) is not a personal data.
                        – Mark S.
                        Dec 4 at 12:17

                        Accordingly to CNIL site the first name (le prénom) is not a personal data.
                        – Mark S.
                        Dec 4 at 12:17

                        10

                        10

                        “Nom” is a catch all word. I can mean the familly name or a full name. In anycase, you have to add to this that the university of the student and the year they were in is also mentioned which would make it trivial to identify the student. How many “Mathieu C.” in ISITV had Iaroslav Blagouchine has a teacher in 3rd Year in the Higher Mathematics class ?
                        – Maeln
                        Dec 4 at 12:23

                        “Nom” is a catch all word. I can mean the familly name or a full name. In anycase, you have to add to this that the university of the student and the year they were in is also mentioned which would make it trivial to identify the student. How many “Mathieu C.” in ISITV had Iaroslav Blagouchine has a teacher in 3rd Year in the Higher Mathematics class ?
                        – Maeln
                        Dec 4 at 12:23

                        14

                        14

                        Because personal data are any information that identify someone directly or indirectly. Here the mention of the university name and the year they were in (plus the teacher name and the name of the class) would be considered indirect personal data when mixed with a mention of their (not full) name.
                        – Maeln
                        Dec 4 at 12:24

                        Because personal data are any information that identify someone directly or indirectly. Here the mention of the university name and the year they were in (plus the teacher name and the name of the class) would be considered indirect personal data when mixed with a mention of their (not full) name.
                        – Maeln
                        Dec 4 at 12:24

                        3

                        3

                        @MarkS. I don’t disagree with you (although getting a students list through alumini network is usually fairly easy), but it doesn’t matter what we think. If the CNIL decide that this is personal data and if there is no trace that student gave explicit consent to appear in this list, then it is illegal.
                        – Maeln
                        Dec 5 at 9:36

                        @MarkS. I don’t disagree with you (although getting a students list through alumini network is usually fairly easy), but it doesn’t matter what we think. If the CNIL decide that this is personal data and if there is no trace that student gave explicit consent to appear in this list, then it is illegal.
                        – Maeln
                        Dec 5 at 9:36

                        2

                        2

                        @MarkS. yeah, lucky students who were given common first names at birth. But if your first name is Robinson or Zeus or Orion or Kami or Iaroslav, then you’re out of luck?
                        – Cœur
                        15 hours ago

                        @MarkS. yeah, lucky students who were given common first names at birth. But if your first name is Robinson or Zeus or Orion or Kami or Iaroslav, then you’re out of luck?
                        – Cœur
                        15 hours ago

                        up vote
                        5
                        down vote

                        As has been said in prior answers, it is NEVER acceptable to make fun of students or otherwise say or do something that could prevent them from learning.

                        Many sites on the Stack Exchange network would not be the same without “stupid questions” and you could view students asking them in the same way. Even if it seems utterly ridiculous to you, the student likely is honestly wondering about it and laughing at their questions somewhere where they could potentially see them could encourage them to not ask questions for fear of being laughed at. Students who hold their questions for this reason often never get them answered and as a result earn a lower grade.

                        share|improve this answer

                          up vote
                          5
                          down vote

                          As has been said in prior answers, it is NEVER acceptable to make fun of students or otherwise say or do something that could prevent them from learning.

                          Many sites on the Stack Exchange network would not be the same without “stupid questions” and you could view students asking them in the same way. Even if it seems utterly ridiculous to you, the student likely is honestly wondering about it and laughing at their questions somewhere where they could potentially see them could encourage them to not ask questions for fear of being laughed at. Students who hold their questions for this reason often never get them answered and as a result earn a lower grade.

                          share|improve this answer

                            up vote
                            5
                            down vote

                            up vote
                            5
                            down vote

                            As has been said in prior answers, it is NEVER acceptable to make fun of students or otherwise say or do something that could prevent them from learning.

                            Many sites on the Stack Exchange network would not be the same without “stupid questions” and you could view students asking them in the same way. Even if it seems utterly ridiculous to you, the student likely is honestly wondering about it and laughing at their questions somewhere where they could potentially see them could encourage them to not ask questions for fear of being laughed at. Students who hold their questions for this reason often never get them answered and as a result earn a lower grade.

                            share|improve this answer

                            As has been said in prior answers, it is NEVER acceptable to make fun of students or otherwise say or do something that could prevent them from learning.

                            Many sites on the Stack Exchange network would not be the same without “stupid questions” and you could view students asking them in the same way. Even if it seems utterly ridiculous to you, the student likely is honestly wondering about it and laughing at their questions somewhere where they could potentially see them could encourage them to not ask questions for fear of being laughed at. Students who hold their questions for this reason often never get them answered and as a result earn a lower grade.

                            share|improve this answer

                            share|improve this answer

                            share|improve this answer

                            answered Dec 6 at 19:25

                            dalearn

                            1668

                            1668

                                up vote
                                3
                                down vote

                                1) First of all, it seems that the leading question of the discussion “Is it acceptable to publish student names with the label stupid question?” is not correctly formulated. A part of the the question contains a statement which is actually faulty: the names of the students are not revealed, only the first names are mentioned, which are all very common ones. The format like Donald T. or Emmanuel M. does not permit to identify the person, so that the anonymity is fully kept (hence, GDPR has nothing to do with this). Moreover, such a format of names is usual in classic literature. Actually, to name the person only with her/his first name means precisely that you do not want to reveal the identity of the person.

                                2) I don’t think that the objective was to ridicule the students, but rather to make them attend more or/and to make them understand that they are simply too lazy (since they do not recall even basic notions). In engineering schools, as was remarked earlier by @A Simple Algorithm, students should have at least basic notions of the trigonometry (the trigonometry is usually covered in high school before the university), because it is used throughout all the university curriculum. Same remark concerns decibels: this is a very basic notion, which is covered during the 1st year of studies. So (@J.R.) nobody mocks. After all, it ain’t funny to have students with such a poor level.

                                3) In France, the higher education is free, so that it is easily accessible even for the lazy students. Don’t you think about those students from other countries, who have a talent and would like to study, but can’t do this because their parents can’t pay??

                                4) Also, I don’t understand why it is acceptable to widely rank teachers and professors on the Web sites, and why it is not acceptable to do the same with the students (thought on this Web site the rank of the students is not published)? And on the Web sites, the professors are fully named, not as Antoine W. or Sven F. So strangely, nobody thinks about GDPR or FERPA for the professors and teachers.

                                UPD: the initial question was modified so that now it is clear that the actual names are not revealed on the website in question.

                                share|improve this answer

                                • 19

                                  1) A name in the pattern of Rashad Gabriel B.–K. (changed for privacy) is distinguishable enough. 2) This behavior makes me want to stay away from class instead of attend. Also I’d rather have a few stupid questions than none at all because students are to afraid to ask. 3) Yes, free education might attract/support more lazy students, but they don’t prevent other countries from offering free education. 4) Bit of a Whataboutism, this is a different topic. One might argue that professors are public figures, though the ethics of ranking them are a different topic.
                                  – Marv
                                  Dec 3 at 21:58

                                • 21

                                  “I don’t think that the objective was to ridiculize the students” – “Top 6 Most Stupid Questions” in bold letters including actual names. Really?
                                  – dasdingonesin
                                  Dec 4 at 10:28

                                • 27

                                  It’s strange that the author of this answer believes that the first-name-last-initial format is adequately anonymous, yet chose as his handle “Mark S.” and not “Iaroslav B.”
                                  – Will
                                  Dec 4 at 11:48

                                • 6

                                  @MarkS. If a professor sees you taking pictures and doesn’t say anything, he most likely doesn’t care. If he sees it and tells you to stop and you keep taking pictures, or if you do it without him noticing, then you already know you might be doing something that’s not okay. But again, this is a Whataboutism. This thread is about professors publishing personal data of students and students doing the same to professors doesn’t make it okay. Your argumenting with “an eye for an eye” logic.
                                  – Marv
                                  Dec 4 at 12:06

                                • 14

                                  1) “First name – Last initial” isn’t the only information being shared. We’re also given their university, the fact that they’ve had this professor, and which year they had him in. That’s a tiny pool of people. 2) Objective is irrelevant against results. This is ridicule – plain and simple; it doesn’t matter if the professor didn’t intend it that way, and this also discourages asking any question out of fear it might be “dumb”. 3) This just makes no sense as a justification of any kind. 4) Because it’s a common rule of decency that in a position of authority, you don’t punch down.
                                  – Lord Farquaad
                                  Dec 5 at 20:03

                                up vote
                                3
                                down vote

                                1) First of all, it seems that the leading question of the discussion “Is it acceptable to publish student names with the label stupid question?” is not correctly formulated. A part of the the question contains a statement which is actually faulty: the names of the students are not revealed, only the first names are mentioned, which are all very common ones. The format like Donald T. or Emmanuel M. does not permit to identify the person, so that the anonymity is fully kept (hence, GDPR has nothing to do with this). Moreover, such a format of names is usual in classic literature. Actually, to name the person only with her/his first name means precisely that you do not want to reveal the identity of the person.

                                2) I don’t think that the objective was to ridicule the students, but rather to make them attend more or/and to make them understand that they are simply too lazy (since they do not recall even basic notions). In engineering schools, as was remarked earlier by @A Simple Algorithm, students should have at least basic notions of the trigonometry (the trigonometry is usually covered in high school before the university), because it is used throughout all the university curriculum. Same remark concerns decibels: this is a very basic notion, which is covered during the 1st year of studies. So (@J.R.) nobody mocks. After all, it ain’t funny to have students with such a poor level.

                                3) In France, the higher education is free, so that it is easily accessible even for the lazy students. Don’t you think about those students from other countries, who have a talent and would like to study, but can’t do this because their parents can’t pay??

                                4) Also, I don’t understand why it is acceptable to widely rank teachers and professors on the Web sites, and why it is not acceptable to do the same with the students (thought on this Web site the rank of the students is not published)? And on the Web sites, the professors are fully named, not as Antoine W. or Sven F. So strangely, nobody thinks about GDPR or FERPA for the professors and teachers.

                                UPD: the initial question was modified so that now it is clear that the actual names are not revealed on the website in question.

                                share|improve this answer

                                • 19

                                  1) A name in the pattern of Rashad Gabriel B.–K. (changed for privacy) is distinguishable enough. 2) This behavior makes me want to stay away from class instead of attend. Also I’d rather have a few stupid questions than none at all because students are to afraid to ask. 3) Yes, free education might attract/support more lazy students, but they don’t prevent other countries from offering free education. 4) Bit of a Whataboutism, this is a different topic. One might argue that professors are public figures, though the ethics of ranking them are a different topic.
                                  – Marv
                                  Dec 3 at 21:58

                                • 21

                                  “I don’t think that the objective was to ridiculize the students” – “Top 6 Most Stupid Questions” in bold letters including actual names. Really?
                                  – dasdingonesin
                                  Dec 4 at 10:28

                                • 27

                                  It’s strange that the author of this answer believes that the first-name-last-initial format is adequately anonymous, yet chose as his handle “Mark S.” and not “Iaroslav B.”
                                  – Will
                                  Dec 4 at 11:48

                                • 6

                                  @MarkS. If a professor sees you taking pictures and doesn’t say anything, he most likely doesn’t care. If he sees it and tells you to stop and you keep taking pictures, or if you do it without him noticing, then you already know you might be doing something that’s not okay. But again, this is a Whataboutism. This thread is about professors publishing personal data of students and students doing the same to professors doesn’t make it okay. Your argumenting with “an eye for an eye” logic.
                                  – Marv
                                  Dec 4 at 12:06

                                • 14

                                  1) “First name – Last initial” isn’t the only information being shared. We’re also given their university, the fact that they’ve had this professor, and which year they had him in. That’s a tiny pool of people. 2) Objective is irrelevant against results. This is ridicule – plain and simple; it doesn’t matter if the professor didn’t intend it that way, and this also discourages asking any question out of fear it might be “dumb”. 3) This just makes no sense as a justification of any kind. 4) Because it’s a common rule of decency that in a position of authority, you don’t punch down.
                                  – Lord Farquaad
                                  Dec 5 at 20:03

                                up vote
                                3
                                down vote

                                up vote
                                3
                                down vote

                                1) First of all, it seems that the leading question of the discussion “Is it acceptable to publish student names with the label stupid question?” is not correctly formulated. A part of the the question contains a statement which is actually faulty: the names of the students are not revealed, only the first names are mentioned, which are all very common ones. The format like Donald T. or Emmanuel M. does not permit to identify the person, so that the anonymity is fully kept (hence, GDPR has nothing to do with this). Moreover, such a format of names is usual in classic literature. Actually, to name the person only with her/his first name means precisely that you do not want to reveal the identity of the person.

                                2) I don’t think that the objective was to ridicule the students, but rather to make them attend more or/and to make them understand that they are simply too lazy (since they do not recall even basic notions). In engineering schools, as was remarked earlier by @A Simple Algorithm, students should have at least basic notions of the trigonometry (the trigonometry is usually covered in high school before the university), because it is used throughout all the university curriculum. Same remark concerns decibels: this is a very basic notion, which is covered during the 1st year of studies. So (@J.R.) nobody mocks. After all, it ain’t funny to have students with such a poor level.

                                3) In France, the higher education is free, so that it is easily accessible even for the lazy students. Don’t you think about those students from other countries, who have a talent and would like to study, but can’t do this because their parents can’t pay??

                                4) Also, I don’t understand why it is acceptable to widely rank teachers and professors on the Web sites, and why it is not acceptable to do the same with the students (thought on this Web site the rank of the students is not published)? And on the Web sites, the professors are fully named, not as Antoine W. or Sven F. So strangely, nobody thinks about GDPR or FERPA for the professors and teachers.

                                UPD: the initial question was modified so that now it is clear that the actual names are not revealed on the website in question.

                                share|improve this answer

                                1) First of all, it seems that the leading question of the discussion “Is it acceptable to publish student names with the label stupid question?” is not correctly formulated. A part of the the question contains a statement which is actually faulty: the names of the students are not revealed, only the first names are mentioned, which are all very common ones. The format like Donald T. or Emmanuel M. does not permit to identify the person, so that the anonymity is fully kept (hence, GDPR has nothing to do with this). Moreover, such a format of names is usual in classic literature. Actually, to name the person only with her/his first name means precisely that you do not want to reveal the identity of the person.

                                2) I don’t think that the objective was to ridicule the students, but rather to make them attend more or/and to make them understand that they are simply too lazy (since they do not recall even basic notions). In engineering schools, as was remarked earlier by @A Simple Algorithm, students should have at least basic notions of the trigonometry (the trigonometry is usually covered in high school before the university), because it is used throughout all the university curriculum. Same remark concerns decibels: this is a very basic notion, which is covered during the 1st year of studies. So (@J.R.) nobody mocks. After all, it ain’t funny to have students with such a poor level.

                                3) In France, the higher education is free, so that it is easily accessible even for the lazy students. Don’t you think about those students from other countries, who have a talent and would like to study, but can’t do this because their parents can’t pay??

                                4) Also, I don’t understand why it is acceptable to widely rank teachers and professors on the Web sites, and why it is not acceptable to do the same with the students (thought on this Web site the rank of the students is not published)? And on the Web sites, the professors are fully named, not as Antoine W. or Sven F. So strangely, nobody thinks about GDPR or FERPA for the professors and teachers.

                                UPD: the initial question was modified so that now it is clear that the actual names are not revealed on the website in question.

                                share|improve this answer

                                share|improve this answer

                                share|improve this answer

                                edited 2 days ago

                                answered Dec 3 at 21:42

                                Mark S.

                                1372

                                1372

                                • 19

                                  1) A name in the pattern of Rashad Gabriel B.–K. (changed for privacy) is distinguishable enough. 2) This behavior makes me want to stay away from class instead of attend. Also I’d rather have a few stupid questions than none at all because students are to afraid to ask. 3) Yes, free education might attract/support more lazy students, but they don’t prevent other countries from offering free education. 4) Bit of a Whataboutism, this is a different topic. One might argue that professors are public figures, though the ethics of ranking them are a different topic.
                                  – Marv
                                  Dec 3 at 21:58

                                • 21

                                  “I don’t think that the objective was to ridiculize the students” – “Top 6 Most Stupid Questions” in bold letters including actual names. Really?
                                  – dasdingonesin
                                  Dec 4 at 10:28

                                • 27

                                  It’s strange that the author of this answer believes that the first-name-last-initial format is adequately anonymous, yet chose as his handle “Mark S.” and not “Iaroslav B.”
                                  – Will
                                  Dec 4 at 11:48

                                • 6

                                  @MarkS. If a professor sees you taking pictures and doesn’t say anything, he most likely doesn’t care. If he sees it and tells you to stop and you keep taking pictures, or if you do it without him noticing, then you already know you might be doing something that’s not okay. But again, this is a Whataboutism. This thread is about professors publishing personal data of students and students doing the same to professors doesn’t make it okay. Your argumenting with “an eye for an eye” logic.
                                  – Marv
                                  Dec 4 at 12:06

                                • 14

                                  1) “First name – Last initial” isn’t the only information being shared. We’re also given their university, the fact that they’ve had this professor, and which year they had him in. That’s a tiny pool of people. 2) Objective is irrelevant against results. This is ridicule – plain and simple; it doesn’t matter if the professor didn’t intend it that way, and this also discourages asking any question out of fear it might be “dumb”. 3) This just makes no sense as a justification of any kind. 4) Because it’s a common rule of decency that in a position of authority, you don’t punch down.
                                  – Lord Farquaad
                                  Dec 5 at 20:03

                                • 19

                                  1) A name in the pattern of Rashad Gabriel B.–K. (changed for privacy) is distinguishable enough. 2) This behavior makes me want to stay away from class instead of attend. Also I’d rather have a few stupid questions than none at all because students are to afraid to ask. 3) Yes, free education might attract/support more lazy students, but they don’t prevent other countries from offering free education. 4) Bit of a Whataboutism, this is a different topic. One might argue that professors are public figures, though the ethics of ranking them are a different topic.
                                  – Marv
                                  Dec 3 at 21:58

                                • 21

                                  “I don’t think that the objective was to ridiculize the students” – “Top 6 Most Stupid Questions” in bold letters including actual names. Really?
                                  – dasdingonesin
                                  Dec 4 at 10:28

                                • 27

                                  It’s strange that the author of this answer believes that the first-name-last-initial format is adequately anonymous, yet chose as his handle “Mark S.” and not “Iaroslav B.”
                                  – Will
                                  Dec 4 at 11:48

                                • 6

                                  @MarkS. If a professor sees you taking pictures and doesn’t say anything, he most likely doesn’t care. If he sees it and tells you to stop and you keep taking pictures, or if you do it without him noticing, then you already know you might be doing something that’s not okay. But again, this is a Whataboutism. This thread is about professors publishing personal data of students and students doing the same to professors doesn’t make it okay. Your argumenting with “an eye for an eye” logic.
                                  – Marv
                                  Dec 4 at 12:06

                                • 14

                                  1) “First name – Last initial” isn’t the only information being shared. We’re also given their university, the fact that they’ve had this professor, and which year they had him in. That’s a tiny pool of people. 2) Objective is irrelevant against results. This is ridicule – plain and simple; it doesn’t matter if the professor didn’t intend it that way, and this also discourages asking any question out of fear it might be “dumb”. 3) This just makes no sense as a justification of any kind. 4) Because it’s a common rule of decency that in a position of authority, you don’t punch down.
                                  – Lord Farquaad
                                  Dec 5 at 20:03

                                19

                                19

                                1) A name in the pattern of Rashad Gabriel B.–K. (changed for privacy) is distinguishable enough. 2) This behavior makes me want to stay away from class instead of attend. Also I’d rather have a few stupid questions than none at all because students are to afraid to ask. 3) Yes, free education might attract/support more lazy students, but they don’t prevent other countries from offering free education. 4) Bit of a Whataboutism, this is a different topic. One might argue that professors are public figures, though the ethics of ranking them are a different topic.
                                – Marv
                                Dec 3 at 21:58

                                1) A name in the pattern of Rashad Gabriel B.–K. (changed for privacy) is distinguishable enough. 2) This behavior makes me want to stay away from class instead of attend. Also I’d rather have a few stupid questions than none at all because students are to afraid to ask. 3) Yes, free education might attract/support more lazy students, but they don’t prevent other countries from offering free education. 4) Bit of a Whataboutism, this is a different topic. One might argue that professors are public figures, though the ethics of ranking them are a different topic.
                                – Marv
                                Dec 3 at 21:58

                                21

                                21

                                “I don’t think that the objective was to ridiculize the students” – “Top 6 Most Stupid Questions” in bold letters including actual names. Really?
                                – dasdingonesin
                                Dec 4 at 10:28

                                “I don’t think that the objective was to ridiculize the students” – “Top 6 Most Stupid Questions” in bold letters including actual names. Really?
                                – dasdingonesin
                                Dec 4 at 10:28

                                27

                                27

                                It’s strange that the author of this answer believes that the first-name-last-initial format is adequately anonymous, yet chose as his handle “Mark S.” and not “Iaroslav B.”
                                – Will
                                Dec 4 at 11:48

                                It’s strange that the author of this answer believes that the first-name-last-initial format is adequately anonymous, yet chose as his handle “Mark S.” and not “Iaroslav B.”
                                – Will
                                Dec 4 at 11:48

                                6

                                6

                                @MarkS. If a professor sees you taking pictures and doesn’t say anything, he most likely doesn’t care. If he sees it and tells you to stop and you keep taking pictures, or if you do it without him noticing, then you already know you might be doing something that’s not okay. But again, this is a Whataboutism. This thread is about professors publishing personal data of students and students doing the same to professors doesn’t make it okay. Your argumenting with “an eye for an eye” logic.
                                – Marv
                                Dec 4 at 12:06

                                @MarkS. If a professor sees you taking pictures and doesn’t say anything, he most likely doesn’t care. If he sees it and tells you to stop and you keep taking pictures, or if you do it without him noticing, then you already know you might be doing something that’s not okay. But again, this is a Whataboutism. This thread is about professors publishing personal data of students and students doing the same to professors doesn’t make it okay. Your argumenting with “an eye for an eye” logic.
                                – Marv
                                Dec 4 at 12:06

                                14

                                14

                                1) “First name – Last initial” isn’t the only information being shared. We’re also given their university, the fact that they’ve had this professor, and which year they had him in. That’s a tiny pool of people. 2) Objective is irrelevant against results. This is ridicule – plain and simple; it doesn’t matter if the professor didn’t intend it that way, and this also discourages asking any question out of fear it might be “dumb”. 3) This just makes no sense as a justification of any kind. 4) Because it’s a common rule of decency that in a position of authority, you don’t punch down.
                                – Lord Farquaad
                                Dec 5 at 20:03

                                1) “First name – Last initial” isn’t the only information being shared. We’re also given their university, the fact that they’ve had this professor, and which year they had him in. That’s a tiny pool of people. 2) Objective is irrelevant against results. This is ridicule – plain and simple; it doesn’t matter if the professor didn’t intend it that way, and this also discourages asking any question out of fear it might be “dumb”. 3) This just makes no sense as a justification of any kind. 4) Because it’s a common rule of decency that in a position of authority, you don’t punch down.
                                – Lord Farquaad
                                Dec 5 at 20:03

                                protected by StrongBad Dec 4 at 12:26

                                Thank you for your interest in this question.
                                Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site (the association bonus does not count).

                                Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

                                Co-authors decided to remove most of my contributions from a Nature paper without my consent

                                The name of the pictureThe name of the pictureThe name of the pictureClash Royale CLAN TAG#URR8PPP

                                up vote
                                41
                                down vote

                                favorite

                                2

                                I am a postdoc and have dedicated the past five years to working on a big project spanning several groups and countries.
                                My and my supervisor’s contribution was to interpret their results in light of our knowledge in my field.
                                For me, the project was an “aside” project, i.e. I have done volunteering work and the other authors explicitly said repeatedly that they were not the boss of this project.
                                We submitted a manuscript to Nature, with me being one of the first authors.
                                This article contained insightful information interesting for both our fields.

                                We got feedback from five different referees. Most of them saw our results as interesting but had many questions and one did not like it. The editor’s decision was that the manuscript could be considered again if the issues were addressed correctly. They did not request a change of format or length, respectively.

                                We have been rewriting the manuscript to make things clearer, and people from the other field have worked on their side for the past six months without giving me any updates. I discovered a couple of weeks ago that it is now a short letter and most of my contributions have been removed. I remain on the authors list.

                                When I asked why, no one answered. A rumor is that the part on my field was too complicated for them so they cut it because they believed that my contribution on their field is sufficient for submission. So in the end, the project started as multidisciplinary but it ended with a short letter addressed only to scientists of their field, not mine.

                                I disagree with this move since it was in my opinion illegal to take such an important decision without my consent and because the paper has lost a lot of interest for my publication list, now that a big part of my original work has been cut out.
                                Since I have worked on this for five years, this decision jeopardizes my career. My own director does not care but I do.
                                The rest of the authors do not really care about my opinion and are saying that even without my consent, the paper will be quickly published with my name removed. I don’t think that is right.
                                They indeed asked me to write a new paper and publish it on my side, but I certainly won’t be able to publish it in the same journal (Nature) and the problem is that I finish my contract in a month. I guess it is somewhat possible to justify five years of work for a Nature paper, but for lower-ranked journal, it is more difficult.

                                If I decide to retract, can they publish the work as it is? Meaning that they still use my contribution to this work? If not, who and what department/lawyer can I turn to?

                                share|improve this question

                                • 4

                                  illegal most likely not. I know it’s frustrating but I doubt that the law can help. You need to involve the people higher in the institution.
                                  – Cape Code
                                  Nov 29 at 14:23

                                • as a side question: who signed the copyright transfer agreement and when?
                                  – ZeroTheHero
                                  Nov 30 at 2:14

                                • I removed most comment because the requested information is now include in the question. If anything remains unclear, please ask again. I also edited the question to contain all this information and be a single story. @Romain: Please check whether everything is correct and edit it if needed. In particular, it is my understanding that the paper in question has not yet been re-submitted.
                                  – Wrzlprmft
                                  Dec 1 at 13:05

                                • 1

                                  I’ve not seen it suggested in the current eight answers that one option would be to request your co-authors to include at least a short sentence explaining that their work depends on unpublished work by you. It seems to me that this can be a compromise that everyone might accept, since you get the explicit credit and they don’t have to include the parts cut out. But I’m hesitant to post this as an answer because I don’t think we know enough about your relationships with your co-authors to know whether this would work.
                                  – user21820
                                  Dec 2 at 15:48

                                • @Wrzlprmft Thanks for the editing. Indeed, the paper has not been re-submitted yet so we still don’t know for now whether it is a Nature paper.
                                  – Romain
                                  Dec 3 at 16:19

                                up vote
                                41
                                down vote

                                favorite

                                2

                                I am a postdoc and have dedicated the past five years to working on a big project spanning several groups and countries.
                                My and my supervisor’s contribution was to interpret their results in light of our knowledge in my field.
                                For me, the project was an “aside” project, i.e. I have done volunteering work and the other authors explicitly said repeatedly that they were not the boss of this project.
                                We submitted a manuscript to Nature, with me being one of the first authors.
                                This article contained insightful information interesting for both our fields.

                                We got feedback from five different referees. Most of them saw our results as interesting but had many questions and one did not like it. The editor’s decision was that the manuscript could be considered again if the issues were addressed correctly. They did not request a change of format or length, respectively.

                                We have been rewriting the manuscript to make things clearer, and people from the other field have worked on their side for the past six months without giving me any updates. I discovered a couple of weeks ago that it is now a short letter and most of my contributions have been removed. I remain on the authors list.

                                When I asked why, no one answered. A rumor is that the part on my field was too complicated for them so they cut it because they believed that my contribution on their field is sufficient for submission. So in the end, the project started as multidisciplinary but it ended with a short letter addressed only to scientists of their field, not mine.

                                I disagree with this move since it was in my opinion illegal to take such an important decision without my consent and because the paper has lost a lot of interest for my publication list, now that a big part of my original work has been cut out.
                                Since I have worked on this for five years, this decision jeopardizes my career. My own director does not care but I do.
                                The rest of the authors do not really care about my opinion and are saying that even without my consent, the paper will be quickly published with my name removed. I don’t think that is right.
                                They indeed asked me to write a new paper and publish it on my side, but I certainly won’t be able to publish it in the same journal (Nature) and the problem is that I finish my contract in a month. I guess it is somewhat possible to justify five years of work for a Nature paper, but for lower-ranked journal, it is more difficult.

                                If I decide to retract, can they publish the work as it is? Meaning that they still use my contribution to this work? If not, who and what department/lawyer can I turn to?

                                share|improve this question

                                • 4

                                  illegal most likely not. I know it’s frustrating but I doubt that the law can help. You need to involve the people higher in the institution.
                                  – Cape Code
                                  Nov 29 at 14:23

                                • as a side question: who signed the copyright transfer agreement and when?
                                  – ZeroTheHero
                                  Nov 30 at 2:14

                                • I removed most comment because the requested information is now include in the question. If anything remains unclear, please ask again. I also edited the question to contain all this information and be a single story. @Romain: Please check whether everything is correct and edit it if needed. In particular, it is my understanding that the paper in question has not yet been re-submitted.
                                  – Wrzlprmft
                                  Dec 1 at 13:05

                                • 1

                                  I’ve not seen it suggested in the current eight answers that one option would be to request your co-authors to include at least a short sentence explaining that their work depends on unpublished work by you. It seems to me that this can be a compromise that everyone might accept, since you get the explicit credit and they don’t have to include the parts cut out. But I’m hesitant to post this as an answer because I don’t think we know enough about your relationships with your co-authors to know whether this would work.
                                  – user21820
                                  Dec 2 at 15:48

                                • @Wrzlprmft Thanks for the editing. Indeed, the paper has not been re-submitted yet so we still don’t know for now whether it is a Nature paper.
                                  – Romain
                                  Dec 3 at 16:19

                                up vote
                                41
                                down vote

                                favorite

                                2

                                up vote
                                41
                                down vote

                                favorite

                                2
                                2

                                I am a postdoc and have dedicated the past five years to working on a big project spanning several groups and countries.
                                My and my supervisor’s contribution was to interpret their results in light of our knowledge in my field.
                                For me, the project was an “aside” project, i.e. I have done volunteering work and the other authors explicitly said repeatedly that they were not the boss of this project.
                                We submitted a manuscript to Nature, with me being one of the first authors.
                                This article contained insightful information interesting for both our fields.

                                We got feedback from five different referees. Most of them saw our results as interesting but had many questions and one did not like it. The editor’s decision was that the manuscript could be considered again if the issues were addressed correctly. They did not request a change of format or length, respectively.

                                We have been rewriting the manuscript to make things clearer, and people from the other field have worked on their side for the past six months without giving me any updates. I discovered a couple of weeks ago that it is now a short letter and most of my contributions have been removed. I remain on the authors list.

                                When I asked why, no one answered. A rumor is that the part on my field was too complicated for them so they cut it because they believed that my contribution on their field is sufficient for submission. So in the end, the project started as multidisciplinary but it ended with a short letter addressed only to scientists of their field, not mine.

                                I disagree with this move since it was in my opinion illegal to take such an important decision without my consent and because the paper has lost a lot of interest for my publication list, now that a big part of my original work has been cut out.
                                Since I have worked on this for five years, this decision jeopardizes my career. My own director does not care but I do.
                                The rest of the authors do not really care about my opinion and are saying that even without my consent, the paper will be quickly published with my name removed. I don’t think that is right.
                                They indeed asked me to write a new paper and publish it on my side, but I certainly won’t be able to publish it in the same journal (Nature) and the problem is that I finish my contract in a month. I guess it is somewhat possible to justify five years of work for a Nature paper, but for lower-ranked journal, it is more difficult.

                                If I decide to retract, can they publish the work as it is? Meaning that they still use my contribution to this work? If not, who and what department/lawyer can I turn to?

                                share|improve this question

                                I am a postdoc and have dedicated the past five years to working on a big project spanning several groups and countries.
                                My and my supervisor’s contribution was to interpret their results in light of our knowledge in my field.
                                For me, the project was an “aside” project, i.e. I have done volunteering work and the other authors explicitly said repeatedly that they were not the boss of this project.
                                We submitted a manuscript to Nature, with me being one of the first authors.
                                This article contained insightful information interesting for both our fields.

                                We got feedback from five different referees. Most of them saw our results as interesting but had many questions and one did not like it. The editor’s decision was that the manuscript could be considered again if the issues were addressed correctly. They did not request a change of format or length, respectively.

                                We have been rewriting the manuscript to make things clearer, and people from the other field have worked on their side for the past six months without giving me any updates. I discovered a couple of weeks ago that it is now a short letter and most of my contributions have been removed. I remain on the authors list.

                                When I asked why, no one answered. A rumor is that the part on my field was too complicated for them so they cut it because they believed that my contribution on their field is sufficient for submission. So in the end, the project started as multidisciplinary but it ended with a short letter addressed only to scientists of their field, not mine.

                                I disagree with this move since it was in my opinion illegal to take such an important decision without my consent and because the paper has lost a lot of interest for my publication list, now that a big part of my original work has been cut out.
                                Since I have worked on this for five years, this decision jeopardizes my career. My own director does not care but I do.
                                The rest of the authors do not really care about my opinion and are saying that even without my consent, the paper will be quickly published with my name removed. I don’t think that is right.
                                They indeed asked me to write a new paper and publish it on my side, but I certainly won’t be able to publish it in the same journal (Nature) and the problem is that I finish my contract in a month. I guess it is somewhat possible to justify five years of work for a Nature paper, but for lower-ranked journal, it is more difficult.

                                If I decide to retract, can they publish the work as it is? Meaning that they still use my contribution to this work? If not, who and what department/lawyer can I turn to?

                                ethics authorship collaboration legal-issues

                                share|improve this question

                                share|improve this question

                                share|improve this question

                                share|improve this question

                                edited Dec 1 at 12:57

                                Wrzlprmft

                                32.4k9106178

                                32.4k9106178

                                asked Nov 29 at 13:32

                                Romain

                                314128

                                314128

                                • 4

                                  illegal most likely not. I know it’s frustrating but I doubt that the law can help. You need to involve the people higher in the institution.
                                  – Cape Code
                                  Nov 29 at 14:23

                                • as a side question: who signed the copyright transfer agreement and when?
                                  – ZeroTheHero
                                  Nov 30 at 2:14

                                • I removed most comment because the requested information is now include in the question. If anything remains unclear, please ask again. I also edited the question to contain all this information and be a single story. @Romain: Please check whether everything is correct and edit it if needed. In particular, it is my understanding that the paper in question has not yet been re-submitted.
                                  – Wrzlprmft
                                  Dec 1 at 13:05

                                • 1

                                  I’ve not seen it suggested in the current eight answers that one option would be to request your co-authors to include at least a short sentence explaining that their work depends on unpublished work by you. It seems to me that this can be a compromise that everyone might accept, since you get the explicit credit and they don’t have to include the parts cut out. But I’m hesitant to post this as an answer because I don’t think we know enough about your relationships with your co-authors to know whether this would work.
                                  – user21820
                                  Dec 2 at 15:48

                                • @Wrzlprmft Thanks for the editing. Indeed, the paper has not been re-submitted yet so we still don’t know for now whether it is a Nature paper.
                                  – Romain
                                  Dec 3 at 16:19

                                • 4

                                  illegal most likely not. I know it’s frustrating but I doubt that the law can help. You need to involve the people higher in the institution.
                                  – Cape Code
                                  Nov 29 at 14:23

                                • as a side question: who signed the copyright transfer agreement and when?
                                  – ZeroTheHero
                                  Nov 30 at 2:14

                                • I removed most comment because the requested information is now include in the question. If anything remains unclear, please ask again. I also edited the question to contain all this information and be a single story. @Romain: Please check whether everything is correct and edit it if needed. In particular, it is my understanding that the paper in question has not yet been re-submitted.
                                  – Wrzlprmft
                                  Dec 1 at 13:05

                                • 1

                                  I’ve not seen it suggested in the current eight answers that one option would be to request your co-authors to include at least a short sentence explaining that their work depends on unpublished work by you. It seems to me that this can be a compromise that everyone might accept, since you get the explicit credit and they don’t have to include the parts cut out. But I’m hesitant to post this as an answer because I don’t think we know enough about your relationships with your co-authors to know whether this would work.
                                  – user21820
                                  Dec 2 at 15:48

                                • @Wrzlprmft Thanks for the editing. Indeed, the paper has not been re-submitted yet so we still don’t know for now whether it is a Nature paper.
                                  – Romain
                                  Dec 3 at 16:19

                                4

                                4

                                illegal most likely not. I know it’s frustrating but I doubt that the law can help. You need to involve the people higher in the institution.
                                – Cape Code
                                Nov 29 at 14:23

                                illegal most likely not. I know it’s frustrating but I doubt that the law can help. You need to involve the people higher in the institution.
                                – Cape Code
                                Nov 29 at 14:23

                                as a side question: who signed the copyright transfer agreement and when?
                                – ZeroTheHero
                                Nov 30 at 2:14

                                as a side question: who signed the copyright transfer agreement and when?
                                – ZeroTheHero
                                Nov 30 at 2:14

                                I removed most comment because the requested information is now include in the question. If anything remains unclear, please ask again. I also edited the question to contain all this information and be a single story. @Romain: Please check whether everything is correct and edit it if needed. In particular, it is my understanding that the paper in question has not yet been re-submitted.
                                – Wrzlprmft
                                Dec 1 at 13:05

                                I removed most comment because the requested information is now include in the question. If anything remains unclear, please ask again. I also edited the question to contain all this information and be a single story. @Romain: Please check whether everything is correct and edit it if needed. In particular, it is my understanding that the paper in question has not yet been re-submitted.
                                – Wrzlprmft
                                Dec 1 at 13:05

                                1

                                1

                                I’ve not seen it suggested in the current eight answers that one option would be to request your co-authors to include at least a short sentence explaining that their work depends on unpublished work by you. It seems to me that this can be a compromise that everyone might accept, since you get the explicit credit and they don’t have to include the parts cut out. But I’m hesitant to post this as an answer because I don’t think we know enough about your relationships with your co-authors to know whether this would work.
                                – user21820
                                Dec 2 at 15:48

                                I’ve not seen it suggested in the current eight answers that one option would be to request your co-authors to include at least a short sentence explaining that their work depends on unpublished work by you. It seems to me that this can be a compromise that everyone might accept, since you get the explicit credit and they don’t have to include the parts cut out. But I’m hesitant to post this as an answer because I don’t think we know enough about your relationships with your co-authors to know whether this would work.
                                – user21820
                                Dec 2 at 15:48

                                @Wrzlprmft Thanks for the editing. Indeed, the paper has not been re-submitted yet so we still don’t know for now whether it is a Nature paper.
                                – Romain
                                Dec 3 at 16:19

                                @Wrzlprmft Thanks for the editing. Indeed, the paper has not been re-submitted yet so we still don’t know for now whether it is a Nature paper.
                                – Romain
                                Dec 3 at 16:19

                                8 Answers
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                                accepted

                                First, take the time to carefully consider your options.

                                From your description the problem looks like a disagreement between co-authors: the behaviour of the corresponding author is careless and disrespectful, but it doesn’t look like a major breach of ethics. Turning this into a legal battle might cause a lot of trouble, especially in a large multidisciplinary project. This could damage your reputation.

                                This is why I would suggest a more subtle approach first:

                                1. Ask your co-authors why the article has been shortened and why your parts have been removed.
                                2. Try to negotiate with them: explain why you think some parts you wrote are really important and should be added back
                                3. If this does not work or if too much of your work has to be removed, ask to use your contribution to write another paper for a different journal/conference. This time you would be the main author and present your work as you see fit. Your co-authors can hardly refuse this to you after cutting your part.
                                share|improve this answer

                                • 32

                                  This. Taking a legal approach, or writing to the editor is going to alienate you from the people you will rely on in your career and might jeopardize the publication altogether (long or short). If I were the editor of the journal and got an email from a co-author, I would just withdraw the paper altogether and write back to the authors saying “Look guys, you’ve got issues. Figure it out — that’s not my job.” You may end up with upset colleagues and no publication at all. Is that worth it to you?
                                  – Wolfgang Bangerth
                                  Nov 29 at 15:54

                                • 1

                                  Yes. Indeed this is what I’ve been trying but we’re stuck at point 1. I don’t get any explicit response. I think they believe they don’t owe me any explanation because I was only a postdoc during this project.
                                  – Romain
                                  Nov 29 at 16:26

                                • 2

                                  @Romain Issues like that may be better handled in person than via email, can you just talk the person responsible for shortening the paper?
                                  – Konrad
                                  Nov 29 at 16:33

                                • 2

                                  @Romain I understand how you feel, this is unfair to you. If you think it’s worth it and if your co-authors don’t answer at all, then you can only contact the editor directly indeed. Just be aware of the risks for yourself, the editor could decide to cancel the paper completely to avoid any IP trouble.
                                  – Erwan
                                  Nov 29 at 17:23

                                • 4

                                  As for me it is a breach of ethics. An author is supposed to consent for the submitted form of the manuscript (some journals are explicit about this: icmje.org/recommendations/browse/roles-and-responsibilities/…). Submitting paper without consent of ALL authors is like forging their signature in a contract.
                                  – abukaj
                                  Nov 30 at 17:50

                                up vote
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                                I partially agree with Peter K.’s answer: contacting the editor is one way to proceed, although admittedly it’s a somewhat drastic step, and you might want to consider more gentle approaches first. A respectable journal will be very cautious about publishing work with controversial authorship, so at the very least this could buy you some time to try to resolve the situation. It’s possible that the journal will also actively help to establish the facts and mediate the dispute, although I’m less certain about that part.

                                With that being said, I think before you start throwing around accusations of “illegal”, or even just unethical or inappropriate, behavior, you need to think carefully about the logical basis for your argument. From your description of the situation I’m actually not sure you have a strong case, although your collaborators’ behavior may reasonably be seen as nasty or uncollegial. What I’m understanding, roughly, is that the project has two parts, one (let’s call it “part A”) that was the work of the collaborators, and another, let’s call it “part B”, which was your work. The plan was originally to publish both parts together, but now the collaborators decided that they only want to publish part A. Well, I’m afraid you can’t force someone to associate their name to a work they don’t want to be associated with, so although you are understandably upset about the removal of part B, personally I think the collaborators are within their rights to remove it and tell you you’ll have to publish it on your own if you want to see it published. The real question, and the one I’d advise you to focus your argument on, is your authorship on the new version of the paper that only contains part A. If they put you in an inferior place on the author list relative to where you feel you deserve to be, that’s something you should discuss with them.

                                Anyway, good luck.

                                Edit: on further rereading of your question I am slightly confused about the precise events here. Are you still a coauthor or the shorter paper? Are you still one of the first authors? Are you complaining about anything other than the removal of part B? Did the collaborators get your approval to submit the shorter paper with your name as a coauthor? If they didn’t, that would be a legitimate thing to complain about, but if the shorter paper was indeed accepted to Nature, I would tend to agree with Wolfgang Bangerth that they might have actually done you a big favor – the longer paper might well have ended up not being accepted, and now you get a publication in Nature and an opportunity to publish another, separate paper as sole author.

                                share|improve this answer

                                • 1

                                  It may be just the way I have read it, but the part A that the other authors want to publish still relies on the work of the OP so whatever form is published the OP should be listed as an author…
                                  – Solar Mike
                                  Nov 29 at 16:24

                                • 1

                                  @SolarMike it’s not clear to me. But it does sound like OP is still on the author list.
                                  – Dan Romik
                                  Nov 29 at 16:26

                                • 2

                                  Sorry for being confusing. Yes, @Solar Mike got it right. I was involved in both A and B. Although A is useful for their field but not much in mine, it still relies on my work. And they have decided that B was not useful for them so the article could be simplified and turned into a letter. So for now I am indeed still on the co-authors list (although they told me my name could be easily removed if I disagree with their choice) but with the new version the spotlight is only on their field, not on mine anymore.
                                  – Romain
                                  Nov 29 at 16:29

                                • 10

                                  It sounds like your thinking on this may be influenced by an anchoring effect. You are comparing your current situation to a hypothetical one you seem fixated on in which the longer version of the paper is accepted to Nature, putting your own work in the spotlight. But that’s purely hypothetical. Surely you know how difficult it is to get a paper placed in Nature? It is not at all clear to me that this comparison between one real situation and another completely hypothetical (and for all we know, wildly implausible) one makes much sense.
                                  – Dan Romik
                                  Nov 29 at 16:39

                                • 4

                                  @Romain ok, thanks. I can’t think of much to add based on this information. It sounds like you are somewhat fortunate to have had some version of the paper ultimately accepted to Nature given the initial mixed opinion of the referees, so that’s definitely something to feel good about (you may be underestimating how good, in fact). At the same time, the other authors have been unpleasant and maybe unprofessional, and you have some legitimate reasons to feel mistreated. Ultimately I confess I don’t know how you should feel or what you should do. I certainly agree it’s a tricky question!
                                  – Dan Romik
                                  Nov 29 at 17:59

                                up vote
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                                I am adding a short answer based on your updated question, now containing all key points.

                                I agree with you in that it must be infuriating to see 5-years-worth of your time flushed down by your colleagues behind your back. I have worked in such a group setting, in a highly competitive institution. I had colleagues in similar situations. Years of dedication and long meetings, lab work, learning, dedication, and the feeling that you don’t relate with the final outcome.

                                If you want to fight this battle, I believe others have provided you all relevant advice here. I just want to tell you what I’d do.

                                Your feelings are justified, but: (i) this is how ambitious institutions work, most of the time, and you cannot change that; (ii) working in a production line is frustrating as compared to the artisan’s life, however it is favored by modern society (read Karl Marx on this); (iii) as others say, you’ll end up with a nice publication on your CV and apparently the freedom to reorganize your data for another subsequent publication; (iv) modern academia is mostly about prestigious authorships and not quite about morals/personal values/human development; (v) any serious players involved will crush anyone standing between them and some “Nature” paper.

                                You are worried about justifying your contract time based on your publication outcome. Well, if you fight this war you’ll finish your contract with no paper, and the accusation of being a troublemaker. Also I believe you’re exaggerating this issue: likely you’ll have enough justification as long as you don’t mess things up (which you’re considering doing right now). I therefore suggest you accept their conditions, finish your contract, take some time off, and then come back to your own work and objectives.

                                Drink this poison, digest it later. Good luck.

                                share|improve this answer

                                • 1

                                  Thanks for your feedback. It actually helps having others understanding this feeling of despair I’m having at the moment. What you say makes sense. I’ll consider it.
                                  – Romain
                                  Nov 29 at 18:29

                                • 1

                                  I’ve read your comments on the top answer (which is very good indeed). You’re right: they’re avoiding you because you’re “just some postdoc”. I am afraid editors and staff will think the same if you escalate this. For instance, a PhD student has international associations and regiment rules protecting them. Ever looked for international postdoc associations? This is a lonely ride, mate.
                                  – Scientist
                                  Nov 29 at 18:34

                                • 1

                                  Very lonely indeed. And yes I’ve tried a bit to look for associations but they’re almost inexistant where I am (I work in a country, the project is managed in another and some of the big bosses are in a third one…). I’ll see what I can do. Thanks again !
                                  – Romain
                                  Nov 29 at 18:37

                                • 1

                                  Interesting…thanks !
                                  – Romain
                                  Nov 29 at 19:20

                                • 2

                                  @MichaelMacAskill This is ultimately about empathy. We all know the sun is still shining outside, the OP probably has a healthy body and a long life ahead, and all the sweet PC rhetoric. Still he feels bypassed by closest colleagues in spite of 5 years of dedication to a project, and that hurts. Sure he (probably) can do whatever he wants later with his part of this project after he submits to a coup which also does’t feel nice. It’ll likely be a bit off sense & context without all the rest as planned, but hey, just look at that nice flower. Swell.
                                  – Scientist
                                  Nov 30 at 11:25

                                up vote
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                                During my PhD I was also part as a computational person in a developmental biology project that made it into Nature. In contrast to your case we always discussed and agreed on how to proceed. Since the experimental results were spectacular, my contribution was kept at a bare minimum and buried in the SI not to upset any referees. Actually, the whole presentation was geared towards that: not upsetting any referees. Even after acceptance the text had to be reduced by a substantial amount. In my opinion the final paper does not really do justice to the whole project, so I can vividly imagine how you must feel and what is going on.

                                However, I don’t think it is worth risking a CNS paper (particularly as first author) over presentation (if e.g. your statistical analysis would be interpreted in a misleading way things would be different). Furthermore, I don’t think it is worth worsening the relationship with your colleagues. Publishing in Nature is a dirty business, but it certainly helps your career and it might help you publishing your work in more detail elsewhere. After all having a follow-up paper is almost as important as having the CNS if you are looking for a job. And not having letters of recommendation from involved big wigs would be a huge red flag.

                                I would strongly advice you to talk to a senior person you trust and who knows as much of the story as possible. I have never heard of legal steps helping anyone in academia. If you think it helps, I am happy to share my experience over Skype or something.

                                share|improve this answer

                                • A wise path. Did you follow up on your analysis anywhere else later? It is nice that you’ve been a similar situation the OP can relate to.
                                  – Scientist
                                  Nov 30 at 11:33

                                • 3

                                  My work resulted in two manuscripts, one about the construction and one about the analysis of the model. These manuscripts went through two or three rounds of revisions; barely any technical point was raised, but they admittedly required rewriting. However, after I left that lab for a postdoc they spent by now five years on various desks and chances that they ever get published are rapidly diminishing with me having taken a industry position this month … Thanks for asking 😉
                                  – qiv
                                  Nov 30 at 11:48

                                • Thanks for your feedback, very useful. I’d be ok if they at least would agree on putting some of my work specific to my field in the SI…let see if they can at least accept to put his back…because I end my contract in one month, a quite small periods to build an entire new paper.
                                  – Romain
                                  Nov 30 at 15:46

                                • Again, you need to talk to somebody who is good at this interdisciplinary game, because what a good move is for you depends on many circumstances: A (first author) CNS can open doors to interviews, but then you will need a strong proposal. A proposal might profit more from these “preliminary results” than from some pieces somewhere in the SI. If you don’t have a strong proposal yet and plan to do another postdoc, then you can write it up on the side and it would be easier to publish if it is newer, than if pieces have been published before!
                                  – qiv
                                  Dec 1 at 8:04

                                up vote
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                                It is my understanding that articles in Nature have an almost “pop science” appeal, even though they have a very high impact factor.

                                Prudence thus dictates removing highly technical portions of the manuscript, and publishing them elsewhere. I know that after I read a paper in Nature, I know that I need to find the follow-up details either in the supplemental material, or in another journal.

                                share|improve this answer

                                • I was ok with putting most of my work in the SI, but they decided otherwise without consulting me. Too complicated for their field apparently, which means that they don’t want to consider this work as multidisciplinary with information insightful for both fields….
                                  – Romain
                                  Nov 30 at 9:10

                                • 1

                                  but yeah as it is since they don’t want to hear, I have no other choice to publish this material elsewhere, thus making the nature paper not interesting for scientists of my field (and therefore not acknowledging for my community the huge amount of effort I have put on this paper). My feeling is that when you look for a position (or job), a Nature paper on your CV won’t be perceived the same way whether it is published in your field or in someone else’s field. If at least they had done their move kindly and with arguments…
                                  – Romain
                                  Nov 30 at 9:10

                                • 3

                                  @Romain Most people know that Nature articles are not thorough nor technical, so I very much disagree with you. With the follow-up paper it will be obvious that the Nature paper was the fruit of your labor.
                                  – axsvl77
                                  Nov 30 at 11:10

                                • 1

                                  @Romain Nature is aimed at people wishing to learn what is going on outside of their field, they will then look at cited papers and papers that site to find more details if needed.
                                  – Ian
                                  Nov 30 at 11:28

                                • Why are you suggesting SI rather than a follow up article in another journal? I agree with everything else in this answer.
                                  – Dawn
                                  Nov 30 at 14:20

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                                I worked on a project much less impactful than this, but where a similar situation took place. After working on the project for a year, we were ready to submit the whole group paper. Then the group leader contacted my supervisor and wanted to cut out the part that included our work because of space constraints. Ultimately we substantially reduced the portion that described our part of the work and the group paper was accepted in a relatively high impact journal. So I took the rest of the material I had worked on with my supervisor and put it into another paper, for which we have just gotten back a revise and resubmit.

                                I recommend the same path to you. Take your material and make a standalone journal paper. All of a sudden, instead of one publication for your years of work, you have two. Perhaps your contribution can go into a journal important for your specific field. While you may be correct that the Nature publication may not seem quite as cool since your field’s contribution is minimized, transdisciplinary research is important, and a Nature article is a big achievement. At my institution, which is a major research institution, such publications get highlighted in the internal news and bring other kudos as well to the authors.

                                The politics in a big group effort can be intense, and you are too junior to burn all your bridges on this one. The time for making the point you wanted to make was sooner, and the heavies in the group didn’t agree with you. As your career continues this type of politics will continue to exist. Unless there is truly an ethical concern, it is probably not worthwhile to fight the tide on these. Also, keep in mind that we can all be a little blinded to the big picture. Think of all the musicians who have left groups to pursue their solo careers and then disappeared from view. Perhaps the article you have cowritten has been pared down to be a true classic for the related field.

                                share|improve this answer

                                • Thank you for your feedback. I guess the problem in my case is that I’ve dedicated 5 years of work during a second postdoc, and at this stage, this publication is crucial for my CV i.e. despite the fact that I hate this way of thinking, a 5 years work for a low impact journal will be more difficult to “sell”, hence lowering down my chance to continue in academic research…moreover, in certain research institute I’m trying to apply to, I am now also getting too old to get yet another postdoc… It’s the whole package let say that puts me a bit into trouble.
                                  – Romain
                                  Dec 4 at 12:37

                                • Perhaps you can send your other work to a high impact journal for your field. Good luck with the situation. I think the Nature article will aid your case.
                                  – Liz
                                  2 days ago

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                                In general, publicaltion requires permission or a license, but the license may be implied and may not always be revocable.

                                You marked this as a legal issue. As always, my only advice is that you speak with a competent lawyer in your jurisdiction if you have any thoughts on taking legal action. The legal issue will be copyright, though false light claims or right of publicity claims could also come into play depending on the full circumstances.

                                Generally, in the USA, an author including a joint author, gains copyright over their work and may use that copyright to block publication of the work without their permission even if the co-authors wish to publish. (Exceptions such as fair use, legal privilege, and de minimis use exist, but these are far beyond the scope of the question)

                                With that said, remember that permission once given cannot always be immediately withdrawn in the context of copyright. If, hypothetically, a joint author were to give permission, even implicitly, to publish at the outset of a project they may not be able to withdraw that at the end even if they are dissatisfied with the work in its finished form. I refuse to give legal advice on this forum so I will not ask about your specific situation, but as a general rule most academic collaborations I have dealt with have involved giving that permission towards the beginning. Large scale ventures involving grants and financing often have this explicitly in a contract or collaboration agreement. Smaller scale lower-cost ventures often have more informal arrangements but still involve conduct that would grant an implied license to publish that may be hard to withdraw.

                                Note that this particular question may truly have different answers in different jurisdictions since Moral Rights (droits moraux) vary significantly between countries.

                                A word on ethics

                                The ethics of the situation are another matter. While reasonable people may disagree, I personally feel it would be unethical or at least unseemly for your co-authors to publish this with your name and your work before they reach some sort of compromise you feel to be acceptable, which in this case may be splitting the matter into two papers which are submitted to journals in different fields.

                                share|improve this answer

                                • 2

                                  Thank you for your feedback. Your statement on permission is very interesting. I feel however that I only gave my permission once for the first submission. I would find it very puzzling that this give them the authorization to make major changes without my consent. As for your word on ethics, I completely agree. And I think this is why I have so much trouble letting things go. They did not behave correctly.
                                  – Romain
                                  Nov 29 at 18:31

                                up vote
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                                Chances are that your university or institute has a policy to follow the Vancouver Protocol, or similar. This would give you good argument to confront your director, and to escalate to a higher hierarchy in your institute if he is not willing to discuss the matter. Like this, you take justified action without escalating too much. It is totally possible that the whole thing is merely a misunderstanding.

                                There is no rule how much contribution is required to be listed as an author. So, while you feel that “the key findings are also the fruit of [your] work”, the other authors may feel that your contribution was not enough to be listed as a co-author. In that case, they should list you in the acknowledgements, at the very least.

                                Edit: I am referring to the ICMJE Recommendation “Defining the Role of Authors and Contributors”, particularly the first criterion

                                Substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work; or the acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data for the work

                                and the clarification

                                All individuals who meet the first criterion should have the opportunity to participate in the review, drafting, and final approval of the manuscript.

                                share|improve this answer

                                • What is the “Vancouver Protocol”? There’s at least two works dubbed with that name, one by the WHO about age-friendly cities, the other the “Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly work in Medical Journals” published by the ICMJE apparently a.k.a. “the uniform requirements”. (I highly suspect you mean the latter, or maybe another one my google-fu didn’t manage to find.)
                                  – das-g
                                  Nov 30 at 1:00

                                • As the ICMJE recommendations (if those are what you’re referring to) cover various topics, maybe you can quote or paraphrase the relevant section in your answer?
                                  – das-g
                                  Nov 30 at 1:02

                                • Over 50people we were only three really working on the interpretation of the results (because we were the only ones in our field). The others have produced results in their field so they earn a place on the paper for sure, but we have given the interpretation.
                                  – Romain
                                  Nov 30 at 9:13

                                • @Romain You mean to say in the end there’s 50 co-authors to a short letter where you’re neither correspondent nor first author? If that’s really the case I doubly recommend you just laugh this off and move on. Not only you but also science deserves better than this!
                                  – Scientist
                                  Nov 30 at 11:30

                                • 1

                                  @Scientist If I accept their conditions I would remain second first author. But as I see it, I would be second first author of a paper that scientists in my own field would barely consider if the letter stays as it is. I acknowledge though that just the fact to have published in Nature, even if not in my field, is still a plus.
                                  – Romain
                                  Nov 30 at 15:58

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                                8 Answers
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                                accepted

                                First, take the time to carefully consider your options.

                                From your description the problem looks like a disagreement between co-authors: the behaviour of the corresponding author is careless and disrespectful, but it doesn’t look like a major breach of ethics. Turning this into a legal battle might cause a lot of trouble, especially in a large multidisciplinary project. This could damage your reputation.

                                This is why I would suggest a more subtle approach first:

                                1. Ask your co-authors why the article has been shortened and why your parts have been removed.
                                2. Try to negotiate with them: explain why you think some parts you wrote are really important and should be added back
                                3. If this does not work or if too much of your work has to be removed, ask to use your contribution to write another paper for a different journal/conference. This time you would be the main author and present your work as you see fit. Your co-authors can hardly refuse this to you after cutting your part.
                                share|improve this answer

                                • 32

                                  This. Taking a legal approach, or writing to the editor is going to alienate you from the people you will rely on in your career and might jeopardize the publication altogether (long or short). If I were the editor of the journal and got an email from a co-author, I would just withdraw the paper altogether and write back to the authors saying “Look guys, you’ve got issues. Figure it out — that’s not my job.” You may end up with upset colleagues and no publication at all. Is that worth it to you?
                                  – Wolfgang Bangerth
                                  Nov 29 at 15:54

                                • 1

                                  Yes. Indeed this is what I’ve been trying but we’re stuck at point 1. I don’t get any explicit response. I think they believe they don’t owe me any explanation because I was only a postdoc during this project.
                                  – Romain
                                  Nov 29 at 16:26

                                • 2

                                  @Romain Issues like that may be better handled in person than via email, can you just talk the person responsible for shortening the paper?
                                  – Konrad
                                  Nov 29 at 16:33

                                • 2

                                  @Romain I understand how you feel, this is unfair to you. If you think it’s worth it and if your co-authors don’t answer at all, then you can only contact the editor directly indeed. Just be aware of the risks for yourself, the editor could decide to cancel the paper completely to avoid any IP trouble.
                                  – Erwan
                                  Nov 29 at 17:23

                                • 4

                                  As for me it is a breach of ethics. An author is supposed to consent for the submitted form of the manuscript (some journals are explicit about this: icmje.org/recommendations/browse/roles-and-responsibilities/…). Submitting paper without consent of ALL authors is like forging their signature in a contract.
                                  – abukaj
                                  Nov 30 at 17:50

                                up vote
                                64
                                down vote

                                accepted

                                First, take the time to carefully consider your options.

                                From your description the problem looks like a disagreement between co-authors: the behaviour of the corresponding author is careless and disrespectful, but it doesn’t look like a major breach of ethics. Turning this into a legal battle might cause a lot of trouble, especially in a large multidisciplinary project. This could damage your reputation.

                                This is why I would suggest a more subtle approach first:

                                1. Ask your co-authors why the article has been shortened and why your parts have been removed.
                                2. Try to negotiate with them: explain why you think some parts you wrote are really important and should be added back
                                3. If this does not work or if too much of your work has to be removed, ask to use your contribution to write another paper for a different journal/conference. This time you would be the main author and present your work as you see fit. Your co-authors can hardly refuse this to you after cutting your part.
                                share|improve this answer

                                • 32

                                  This. Taking a legal approach, or writing to the editor is going to alienate you from the people you will rely on in your career and might jeopardize the publication altogether (long or short). If I were the editor of the journal and got an email from a co-author, I would just withdraw the paper altogether and write back to the authors saying “Look guys, you’ve got issues. Figure it out — that’s not my job.” You may end up with upset colleagues and no publication at all. Is that worth it to you?
                                  – Wolfgang Bangerth
                                  Nov 29 at 15:54

                                • 1

                                  Yes. Indeed this is what I’ve been trying but we’re stuck at point 1. I don’t get any explicit response. I think they believe they don’t owe me any explanation because I was only a postdoc during this project.
                                  – Romain
                                  Nov 29 at 16:26

                                • 2

                                  @Romain Issues like that may be better handled in person than via email, can you just talk the person responsible for shortening the paper?
                                  – Konrad
                                  Nov 29 at 16:33

                                • 2

                                  @Romain I understand how you feel, this is unfair to you. If you think it’s worth it and if your co-authors don’t answer at all, then you can only contact the editor directly indeed. Just be aware of the risks for yourself, the editor could decide to cancel the paper completely to avoid any IP trouble.
                                  – Erwan
                                  Nov 29 at 17:23

                                • 4

                                  As for me it is a breach of ethics. An author is supposed to consent for the submitted form of the manuscript (some journals are explicit about this: icmje.org/recommendations/browse/roles-and-responsibilities/…). Submitting paper without consent of ALL authors is like forging their signature in a contract.
                                  – abukaj
                                  Nov 30 at 17:50

                                up vote
                                64
                                down vote

                                accepted

                                up vote
                                64
                                down vote

                                accepted

                                First, take the time to carefully consider your options.

                                From your description the problem looks like a disagreement between co-authors: the behaviour of the corresponding author is careless and disrespectful, but it doesn’t look like a major breach of ethics. Turning this into a legal battle might cause a lot of trouble, especially in a large multidisciplinary project. This could damage your reputation.

                                This is why I would suggest a more subtle approach first:

                                1. Ask your co-authors why the article has been shortened and why your parts have been removed.
                                2. Try to negotiate with them: explain why you think some parts you wrote are really important and should be added back
                                3. If this does not work or if too much of your work has to be removed, ask to use your contribution to write another paper for a different journal/conference. This time you would be the main author and present your work as you see fit. Your co-authors can hardly refuse this to you after cutting your part.
                                share|improve this answer

                                First, take the time to carefully consider your options.

                                From your description the problem looks like a disagreement between co-authors: the behaviour of the corresponding author is careless and disrespectful, but it doesn’t look like a major breach of ethics. Turning this into a legal battle might cause a lot of trouble, especially in a large multidisciplinary project. This could damage your reputation.

                                This is why I would suggest a more subtle approach first:

                                1. Ask your co-authors why the article has been shortened and why your parts have been removed.
                                2. Try to negotiate with them: explain why you think some parts you wrote are really important and should be added back
                                3. If this does not work or if too much of your work has to be removed, ask to use your contribution to write another paper for a different journal/conference. This time you would be the main author and present your work as you see fit. Your co-authors can hardly refuse this to you after cutting your part.
                                share|improve this answer

                                share|improve this answer

                                share|improve this answer

                                answered Nov 29 at 15:42

                                Erwan

                                1,39269

                                1,39269

                                • 32

                                  This. Taking a legal approach, or writing to the editor is going to alienate you from the people you will rely on in your career and might jeopardize the publication altogether (long or short). If I were the editor of the journal and got an email from a co-author, I would just withdraw the paper altogether and write back to the authors saying “Look guys, you’ve got issues. Figure it out — that’s not my job.” You may end up with upset colleagues and no publication at all. Is that worth it to you?
                                  – Wolfgang Bangerth
                                  Nov 29 at 15:54

                                • 1

                                  Yes. Indeed this is what I’ve been trying but we’re stuck at point 1. I don’t get any explicit response. I think they believe they don’t owe me any explanation because I was only a postdoc during this project.
                                  – Romain
                                  Nov 29 at 16:26

                                • 2

                                  @Romain Issues like that may be better handled in person than via email, can you just talk the person responsible for shortening the paper?
                                  – Konrad
                                  Nov 29 at 16:33

                                • 2

                                  @Romain I understand how you feel, this is unfair to you. If you think it’s worth it and if your co-authors don’t answer at all, then you can only contact the editor directly indeed. Just be aware of the risks for yourself, the editor could decide to cancel the paper completely to avoid any IP trouble.
                                  – Erwan
                                  Nov 29 at 17:23

                                • 4

                                  As for me it is a breach of ethics. An author is supposed to consent for the submitted form of the manuscript (some journals are explicit about this: icmje.org/recommendations/browse/roles-and-responsibilities/…). Submitting paper without consent of ALL authors is like forging their signature in a contract.
                                  – abukaj
                                  Nov 30 at 17:50

                                • 32

                                  This. Taking a legal approach, or writing to the editor is going to alienate you from the people you will rely on in your career and might jeopardize the publication altogether (long or short). If I were the editor of the journal and got an email from a co-author, I would just withdraw the paper altogether and write back to the authors saying “Look guys, you’ve got issues. Figure it out — that’s not my job.” You may end up with upset colleagues and no publication at all. Is that worth it to you?
                                  – Wolfgang Bangerth
                                  Nov 29 at 15:54

                                • 1

                                  Yes. Indeed this is what I’ve been trying but we’re stuck at point 1. I don’t get any explicit response. I think they believe they don’t owe me any explanation because I was only a postdoc during this project.
                                  – Romain
                                  Nov 29 at 16:26

                                • 2

                                  @Romain Issues like that may be better handled in person than via email, can you just talk the person responsible for shortening the paper?
                                  – Konrad
                                  Nov 29 at 16:33

                                • 2

                                  @Romain I understand how you feel, this is unfair to you. If you think it’s worth it and if your co-authors don’t answer at all, then you can only contact the editor directly indeed. Just be aware of the risks for yourself, the editor could decide to cancel the paper completely to avoid any IP trouble.
                                  – Erwan
                                  Nov 29 at 17:23

                                • 4

                                  As for me it is a breach of ethics. An author is supposed to consent for the submitted form of the manuscript (some journals are explicit about this: icmje.org/recommendations/browse/roles-and-responsibilities/…). Submitting paper without consent of ALL authors is like forging their signature in a contract.
                                  – abukaj
                                  Nov 30 at 17:50

                                32

                                32

                                This. Taking a legal approach, or writing to the editor is going to alienate you from the people you will rely on in your career and might jeopardize the publication altogether (long or short). If I were the editor of the journal and got an email from a co-author, I would just withdraw the paper altogether and write back to the authors saying “Look guys, you’ve got issues. Figure it out — that’s not my job.” You may end up with upset colleagues and no publication at all. Is that worth it to you?
                                – Wolfgang Bangerth
                                Nov 29 at 15:54

                                This. Taking a legal approach, or writing to the editor is going to alienate you from the people you will rely on in your career and might jeopardize the publication altogether (long or short). If I were the editor of the journal and got an email from a co-author, I would just withdraw the paper altogether and write back to the authors saying “Look guys, you’ve got issues. Figure it out — that’s not my job.” You may end up with upset colleagues and no publication at all. Is that worth it to you?
                                – Wolfgang Bangerth
                                Nov 29 at 15:54

                                1

                                1

                                Yes. Indeed this is what I’ve been trying but we’re stuck at point 1. I don’t get any explicit response. I think they believe they don’t owe me any explanation because I was only a postdoc during this project.
                                – Romain
                                Nov 29 at 16:26

                                Yes. Indeed this is what I’ve been trying but we’re stuck at point 1. I don’t get any explicit response. I think they believe they don’t owe me any explanation because I was only a postdoc during this project.
                                – Romain
                                Nov 29 at 16:26

                                2

                                2

                                @Romain Issues like that may be better handled in person than via email, can you just talk the person responsible for shortening the paper?
                                – Konrad
                                Nov 29 at 16:33

                                @Romain Issues like that may be better handled in person than via email, can you just talk the person responsible for shortening the paper?
                                – Konrad
                                Nov 29 at 16:33

                                2

                                2

                                @Romain I understand how you feel, this is unfair to you. If you think it’s worth it and if your co-authors don’t answer at all, then you can only contact the editor directly indeed. Just be aware of the risks for yourself, the editor could decide to cancel the paper completely to avoid any IP trouble.
                                – Erwan
                                Nov 29 at 17:23

                                @Romain I understand how you feel, this is unfair to you. If you think it’s worth it and if your co-authors don’t answer at all, then you can only contact the editor directly indeed. Just be aware of the risks for yourself, the editor could decide to cancel the paper completely to avoid any IP trouble.
                                – Erwan
                                Nov 29 at 17:23

                                4

                                4

                                As for me it is a breach of ethics. An author is supposed to consent for the submitted form of the manuscript (some journals are explicit about this: icmje.org/recommendations/browse/roles-and-responsibilities/…). Submitting paper without consent of ALL authors is like forging their signature in a contract.
                                – abukaj
                                Nov 30 at 17:50

                                As for me it is a breach of ethics. An author is supposed to consent for the submitted form of the manuscript (some journals are explicit about this: icmje.org/recommendations/browse/roles-and-responsibilities/…). Submitting paper without consent of ALL authors is like forging their signature in a contract.
                                – abukaj
                                Nov 30 at 17:50

                                up vote
                                16
                                down vote

                                I partially agree with Peter K.’s answer: contacting the editor is one way to proceed, although admittedly it’s a somewhat drastic step, and you might want to consider more gentle approaches first. A respectable journal will be very cautious about publishing work with controversial authorship, so at the very least this could buy you some time to try to resolve the situation. It’s possible that the journal will also actively help to establish the facts and mediate the dispute, although I’m less certain about that part.

                                With that being said, I think before you start throwing around accusations of “illegal”, or even just unethical or inappropriate, behavior, you need to think carefully about the logical basis for your argument. From your description of the situation I’m actually not sure you have a strong case, although your collaborators’ behavior may reasonably be seen as nasty or uncollegial. What I’m understanding, roughly, is that the project has two parts, one (let’s call it “part A”) that was the work of the collaborators, and another, let’s call it “part B”, which was your work. The plan was originally to publish both parts together, but now the collaborators decided that they only want to publish part A. Well, I’m afraid you can’t force someone to associate their name to a work they don’t want to be associated with, so although you are understandably upset about the removal of part B, personally I think the collaborators are within their rights to remove it and tell you you’ll have to publish it on your own if you want to see it published. The real question, and the one I’d advise you to focus your argument on, is your authorship on the new version of the paper that only contains part A. If they put you in an inferior place on the author list relative to where you feel you deserve to be, that’s something you should discuss with them.

                                Anyway, good luck.

                                Edit: on further rereading of your question I am slightly confused about the precise events here. Are you still a coauthor or the shorter paper? Are you still one of the first authors? Are you complaining about anything other than the removal of part B? Did the collaborators get your approval to submit the shorter paper with your name as a coauthor? If they didn’t, that would be a legitimate thing to complain about, but if the shorter paper was indeed accepted to Nature, I would tend to agree with Wolfgang Bangerth that they might have actually done you a big favor – the longer paper might well have ended up not being accepted, and now you get a publication in Nature and an opportunity to publish another, separate paper as sole author.

                                share|improve this answer

                                • 1

                                  It may be just the way I have read it, but the part A that the other authors want to publish still relies on the work of the OP so whatever form is published the OP should be listed as an author…
                                  – Solar Mike
                                  Nov 29 at 16:24

                                • 1

                                  @SolarMike it’s not clear to me. But it does sound like OP is still on the author list.
                                  – Dan Romik
                                  Nov 29 at 16:26

                                • 2

                                  Sorry for being confusing. Yes, @Solar Mike got it right. I was involved in both A and B. Although A is useful for their field but not much in mine, it still relies on my work. And they have decided that B was not useful for them so the article could be simplified and turned into a letter. So for now I am indeed still on the co-authors list (although they told me my name could be easily removed if I disagree with their choice) but with the new version the spotlight is only on their field, not on mine anymore.
                                  – Romain
                                  Nov 29 at 16:29

                                • 10

                                  It sounds like your thinking on this may be influenced by an anchoring effect. You are comparing your current situation to a hypothetical one you seem fixated on in which the longer version of the paper is accepted to Nature, putting your own work in the spotlight. But that’s purely hypothetical. Surely you know how difficult it is to get a paper placed in Nature? It is not at all clear to me that this comparison between one real situation and another completely hypothetical (and for all we know, wildly implausible) one makes much sense.
                                  – Dan Romik
                                  Nov 29 at 16:39

                                • 4

                                  @Romain ok, thanks. I can’t think of much to add based on this information. It sounds like you are somewhat fortunate to have had some version of the paper ultimately accepted to Nature given the initial mixed opinion of the referees, so that’s definitely something to feel good about (you may be underestimating how good, in fact). At the same time, the other authors have been unpleasant and maybe unprofessional, and you have some legitimate reasons to feel mistreated. Ultimately I confess I don’t know how you should feel or what you should do. I certainly agree it’s a tricky question!
                                  – Dan Romik
                                  Nov 29 at 17:59

                                up vote
                                16
                                down vote

                                I partially agree with Peter K.’s answer: contacting the editor is one way to proceed, although admittedly it’s a somewhat drastic step, and you might want to consider more gentle approaches first. A respectable journal will be very cautious about publishing work with controversial authorship, so at the very least this could buy you some time to try to resolve the situation. It’s possible that the journal will also actively help to establish the facts and mediate the dispute, although I’m less certain about that part.

                                With that being said, I think before you start throwing around accusations of “illegal”, or even just unethical or inappropriate, behavior, you need to think carefully about the logical basis for your argument. From your description of the situation I’m actually not sure you have a strong case, although your collaborators’ behavior may reasonably be seen as nasty or uncollegial. What I’m understanding, roughly, is that the project has two parts, one (let’s call it “part A”) that was the work of the collaborators, and another, let’s call it “part B”, which was your work. The plan was originally to publish both parts together, but now the collaborators decided that they only want to publish part A. Well, I’m afraid you can’t force someone to associate their name to a work they don’t want to be associated with, so although you are understandably upset about the removal of part B, personally I think the collaborators are within their rights to remove it and tell you you’ll have to publish it on your own if you want to see it published. The real question, and the one I’d advise you to focus your argument on, is your authorship on the new version of the paper that only contains part A. If they put you in an inferior place on the author list relative to where you feel you deserve to be, that’s something you should discuss with them.

                                Anyway, good luck.

                                Edit: on further rereading of your question I am slightly confused about the precise events here. Are you still a coauthor or the shorter paper? Are you still one of the first authors? Are you complaining about anything other than the removal of part B? Did the collaborators get your approval to submit the shorter paper with your name as a coauthor? If they didn’t, that would be a legitimate thing to complain about, but if the shorter paper was indeed accepted to Nature, I would tend to agree with Wolfgang Bangerth that they might have actually done you a big favor – the longer paper might well have ended up not being accepted, and now you get a publication in Nature and an opportunity to publish another, separate paper as sole author.

                                share|improve this answer

                                • 1

                                  It may be just the way I have read it, but the part A that the other authors want to publish still relies on the work of the OP so whatever form is published the OP should be listed as an author…
                                  – Solar Mike
                                  Nov 29 at 16:24

                                • 1

                                  @SolarMike it’s not clear to me. But it does sound like OP is still on the author list.
                                  – Dan Romik
                                  Nov 29 at 16:26

                                • 2

                                  Sorry for being confusing. Yes, @Solar Mike got it right. I was involved in both A and B. Although A is useful for their field but not much in mine, it still relies on my work. And they have decided that B was not useful for them so the article could be simplified and turned into a letter. So for now I am indeed still on the co-authors list (although they told me my name could be easily removed if I disagree with their choice) but with the new version the spotlight is only on their field, not on mine anymore.
                                  – Romain
                                  Nov 29 at 16:29

                                • 10

                                  It sounds like your thinking on this may be influenced by an anchoring effect. You are comparing your current situation to a hypothetical one you seem fixated on in which the longer version of the paper is accepted to Nature, putting your own work in the spotlight. But that’s purely hypothetical. Surely you know how difficult it is to get a paper placed in Nature? It is not at all clear to me that this comparison between one real situation and another completely hypothetical (and for all we know, wildly implausible) one makes much sense.
                                  – Dan Romik
                                  Nov 29 at 16:39

                                • 4

                                  @Romain ok, thanks. I can’t think of much to add based on this information. It sounds like you are somewhat fortunate to have had some version of the paper ultimately accepted to Nature given the initial mixed opinion of the referees, so that’s definitely something to feel good about (you may be underestimating how good, in fact). At the same time, the other authors have been unpleasant and maybe unprofessional, and you have some legitimate reasons to feel mistreated. Ultimately I confess I don’t know how you should feel or what you should do. I certainly agree it’s a tricky question!
                                  – Dan Romik
                                  Nov 29 at 17:59

                                up vote
                                16
                                down vote

                                up vote
                                16
                                down vote

                                I partially agree with Peter K.’s answer: contacting the editor is one way to proceed, although admittedly it’s a somewhat drastic step, and you might want to consider more gentle approaches first. A respectable journal will be very cautious about publishing work with controversial authorship, so at the very least this could buy you some time to try to resolve the situation. It’s possible that the journal will also actively help to establish the facts and mediate the dispute, although I’m less certain about that part.

                                With that being said, I think before you start throwing around accusations of “illegal”, or even just unethical or inappropriate, behavior, you need to think carefully about the logical basis for your argument. From your description of the situation I’m actually not sure you have a strong case, although your collaborators’ behavior may reasonably be seen as nasty or uncollegial. What I’m understanding, roughly, is that the project has two parts, one (let’s call it “part A”) that was the work of the collaborators, and another, let’s call it “part B”, which was your work. The plan was originally to publish both parts together, but now the collaborators decided that they only want to publish part A. Well, I’m afraid you can’t force someone to associate their name to a work they don’t want to be associated with, so although you are understandably upset about the removal of part B, personally I think the collaborators are within their rights to remove it and tell you you’ll have to publish it on your own if you want to see it published. The real question, and the one I’d advise you to focus your argument on, is your authorship on the new version of the paper that only contains part A. If they put you in an inferior place on the author list relative to where you feel you deserve to be, that’s something you should discuss with them.

                                Anyway, good luck.

                                Edit: on further rereading of your question I am slightly confused about the precise events here. Are you still a coauthor or the shorter paper? Are you still one of the first authors? Are you complaining about anything other than the removal of part B? Did the collaborators get your approval to submit the shorter paper with your name as a coauthor? If they didn’t, that would be a legitimate thing to complain about, but if the shorter paper was indeed accepted to Nature, I would tend to agree with Wolfgang Bangerth that they might have actually done you a big favor – the longer paper might well have ended up not being accepted, and now you get a publication in Nature and an opportunity to publish another, separate paper as sole author.

                                share|improve this answer

                                I partially agree with Peter K.’s answer: contacting the editor is one way to proceed, although admittedly it’s a somewhat drastic step, and you might want to consider more gentle approaches first. A respectable journal will be very cautious about publishing work with controversial authorship, so at the very least this could buy you some time to try to resolve the situation. It’s possible that the journal will also actively help to establish the facts and mediate the dispute, although I’m less certain about that part.

                                With that being said, I think before you start throwing around accusations of “illegal”, or even just unethical or inappropriate, behavior, you need to think carefully about the logical basis for your argument. From your description of the situation I’m actually not sure you have a strong case, although your collaborators’ behavior may reasonably be seen as nasty or uncollegial. What I’m understanding, roughly, is that the project has two parts, one (let’s call it “part A”) that was the work of the collaborators, and another, let’s call it “part B”, which was your work. The plan was originally to publish both parts together, but now the collaborators decided that they only want to publish part A. Well, I’m afraid you can’t force someone to associate their name to a work they don’t want to be associated with, so although you are understandably upset about the removal of part B, personally I think the collaborators are within their rights to remove it and tell you you’ll have to publish it on your own if you want to see it published. The real question, and the one I’d advise you to focus your argument on, is your authorship on the new version of the paper that only contains part A. If they put you in an inferior place on the author list relative to where you feel you deserve to be, that’s something you should discuss with them.

                                Anyway, good luck.

                                Edit: on further rereading of your question I am slightly confused about the precise events here. Are you still a coauthor or the shorter paper? Are you still one of the first authors? Are you complaining about anything other than the removal of part B? Did the collaborators get your approval to submit the shorter paper with your name as a coauthor? If they didn’t, that would be a legitimate thing to complain about, but if the shorter paper was indeed accepted to Nature, I would tend to agree with Wolfgang Bangerth that they might have actually done you a big favor – the longer paper might well have ended up not being accepted, and now you get a publication in Nature and an opportunity to publish another, separate paper as sole author.

                                share|improve this answer

                                share|improve this answer

                                share|improve this answer

                                edited Nov 29 at 16:24

                                answered Nov 29 at 15:55

                                Dan Romik

                                82.1k21178274

                                82.1k21178274

                                • 1

                                  It may be just the way I have read it, but the part A that the other authors want to publish still relies on the work of the OP so whatever form is published the OP should be listed as an author…
                                  – Solar Mike
                                  Nov 29 at 16:24

                                • 1

                                  @SolarMike it’s not clear to me. But it does sound like OP is still on the author list.
                                  – Dan Romik
                                  Nov 29 at 16:26

                                • 2

                                  Sorry for being confusing. Yes, @Solar Mike got it right. I was involved in both A and B. Although A is useful for their field but not much in mine, it still relies on my work. And they have decided that B was not useful for them so the article could be simplified and turned into a letter. So for now I am indeed still on the co-authors list (although they told me my name could be easily removed if I disagree with their choice) but with the new version the spotlight is only on their field, not on mine anymore.
                                  – Romain
                                  Nov 29 at 16:29

                                • 10

                                  It sounds like your thinking on this may be influenced by an anchoring effect. You are comparing your current situation to a hypothetical one you seem fixated on in which the longer version of the paper is accepted to Nature, putting your own work in the spotlight. But that’s purely hypothetical. Surely you know how difficult it is to get a paper placed in Nature? It is not at all clear to me that this comparison between one real situation and another completely hypothetical (and for all we know, wildly implausible) one makes much sense.
                                  – Dan Romik
                                  Nov 29 at 16:39

                                • 4

                                  @Romain ok, thanks. I can’t think of much to add based on this information. It sounds like you are somewhat fortunate to have had some version of the paper ultimately accepted to Nature given the initial mixed opinion of the referees, so that’s definitely something to feel good about (you may be underestimating how good, in fact). At the same time, the other authors have been unpleasant and maybe unprofessional, and you have some legitimate reasons to feel mistreated. Ultimately I confess I don’t know how you should feel or what you should do. I certainly agree it’s a tricky question!
                                  – Dan Romik
                                  Nov 29 at 17:59

                                • 1

                                  It may be just the way I have read it, but the part A that the other authors want to publish still relies on the work of the OP so whatever form is published the OP should be listed as an author…
                                  – Solar Mike
                                  Nov 29 at 16:24

                                • 1

                                  @SolarMike it’s not clear to me. But it does sound like OP is still on the author list.
                                  – Dan Romik
                                  Nov 29 at 16:26

                                • 2

                                  Sorry for being confusing. Yes, @Solar Mike got it right. I was involved in both A and B. Although A is useful for their field but not much in mine, it still relies on my work. And they have decided that B was not useful for them so the article could be simplified and turned into a letter. So for now I am indeed still on the co-authors list (although they told me my name could be easily removed if I disagree with their choice) but with the new version the spotlight is only on their field, not on mine anymore.
                                  – Romain
                                  Nov 29 at 16:29

                                • 10

                                  It sounds like your thinking on this may be influenced by an anchoring effect. You are comparing your current situation to a hypothetical one you seem fixated on in which the longer version of the paper is accepted to Nature, putting your own work in the spotlight. But that’s purely hypothetical. Surely you know how difficult it is to get a paper placed in Nature? It is not at all clear to me that this comparison between one real situation and another completely hypothetical (and for all we know, wildly implausible) one makes much sense.
                                  – Dan Romik
                                  Nov 29 at 16:39

                                • 4

                                  @Romain ok, thanks. I can’t think of much to add based on this information. It sounds like you are somewhat fortunate to have had some version of the paper ultimately accepted to Nature given the initial mixed opinion of the referees, so that’s definitely something to feel good about (you may be underestimating how good, in fact). At the same time, the other authors have been unpleasant and maybe unprofessional, and you have some legitimate reasons to feel mistreated. Ultimately I confess I don’t know how you should feel or what you should do. I certainly agree it’s a tricky question!
                                  – Dan Romik
                                  Nov 29 at 17:59

                                1

                                1

                                It may be just the way I have read it, but the part A that the other authors want to publish still relies on the work of the OP so whatever form is published the OP should be listed as an author…
                                – Solar Mike
                                Nov 29 at 16:24

                                It may be just the way I have read it, but the part A that the other authors want to publish still relies on the work of the OP so whatever form is published the OP should be listed as an author…
                                – Solar Mike
                                Nov 29 at 16:24

                                1

                                1

                                @SolarMike it’s not clear to me. But it does sound like OP is still on the author list.
                                – Dan Romik
                                Nov 29 at 16:26

                                @SolarMike it’s not clear to me. But it does sound like OP is still on the author list.
                                – Dan Romik
                                Nov 29 at 16:26

                                2

                                2

                                Sorry for being confusing. Yes, @Solar Mike got it right. I was involved in both A and B. Although A is useful for their field but not much in mine, it still relies on my work. And they have decided that B was not useful for them so the article could be simplified and turned into a letter. So for now I am indeed still on the co-authors list (although they told me my name could be easily removed if I disagree with their choice) but with the new version the spotlight is only on their field, not on mine anymore.
                                – Romain
                                Nov 29 at 16:29

                                Sorry for being confusing. Yes, @Solar Mike got it right. I was involved in both A and B. Although A is useful for their field but not much in mine, it still relies on my work. And they have decided that B was not useful for them so the article could be simplified and turned into a letter. So for now I am indeed still on the co-authors list (although they told me my name could be easily removed if I disagree with their choice) but with the new version the spotlight is only on their field, not on mine anymore.
                                – Romain
                                Nov 29 at 16:29

                                10

                                10

                                It sounds like your thinking on this may be influenced by an anchoring effect. You are comparing your current situation to a hypothetical one you seem fixated on in which the longer version of the paper is accepted to Nature, putting your own work in the spotlight. But that’s purely hypothetical. Surely you know how difficult it is to get a paper placed in Nature? It is not at all clear to me that this comparison between one real situation and another completely hypothetical (and for all we know, wildly implausible) one makes much sense.
                                – Dan Romik
                                Nov 29 at 16:39

                                It sounds like your thinking on this may be influenced by an anchoring effect. You are comparing your current situation to a hypothetical one you seem fixated on in which the longer version of the paper is accepted to Nature, putting your own work in the spotlight. But that’s purely hypothetical. Surely you know how difficult it is to get a paper placed in Nature? It is not at all clear to me that this comparison between one real situation and another completely hypothetical (and for all we know, wildly implausible) one makes much sense.
                                – Dan Romik
                                Nov 29 at 16:39

                                4

                                4

                                @Romain ok, thanks. I can’t think of much to add based on this information. It sounds like you are somewhat fortunate to have had some version of the paper ultimately accepted to Nature given the initial mixed opinion of the referees, so that’s definitely something to feel good about (you may be underestimating how good, in fact). At the same time, the other authors have been unpleasant and maybe unprofessional, and you have some legitimate reasons to feel mistreated. Ultimately I confess I don’t know how you should feel or what you should do. I certainly agree it’s a tricky question!
                                – Dan Romik
                                Nov 29 at 17:59

                                @Romain ok, thanks. I can’t think of much to add based on this information. It sounds like you are somewhat fortunate to have had some version of the paper ultimately accepted to Nature given the initial mixed opinion of the referees, so that’s definitely something to feel good about (you may be underestimating how good, in fact). At the same time, the other authors have been unpleasant and maybe unprofessional, and you have some legitimate reasons to feel mistreated. Ultimately I confess I don’t know how you should feel or what you should do. I certainly agree it’s a tricky question!
                                – Dan Romik
                                Nov 29 at 17:59

                                up vote
                                15
                                down vote

                                I am adding a short answer based on your updated question, now containing all key points.

                                I agree with you in that it must be infuriating to see 5-years-worth of your time flushed down by your colleagues behind your back. I have worked in such a group setting, in a highly competitive institution. I had colleagues in similar situations. Years of dedication and long meetings, lab work, learning, dedication, and the feeling that you don’t relate with the final outcome.

                                If you want to fight this battle, I believe others have provided you all relevant advice here. I just want to tell you what I’d do.

                                Your feelings are justified, but: (i) this is how ambitious institutions work, most of the time, and you cannot change that; (ii) working in a production line is frustrating as compared to the artisan’s life, however it is favored by modern society (read Karl Marx on this); (iii) as others say, you’ll end up with a nice publication on your CV and apparently the freedom to reorganize your data for another subsequent publication; (iv) modern academia is mostly about prestigious authorships and not quite about morals/personal values/human development; (v) any serious players involved will crush anyone standing between them and some “Nature” paper.

                                You are worried about justifying your contract time based on your publication outcome. Well, if you fight this war you’ll finish your contract with no paper, and the accusation of being a troublemaker. Also I believe you’re exaggerating this issue: likely you’ll have enough justification as long as you don’t mess things up (which you’re considering doing right now). I therefore suggest you accept their conditions, finish your contract, take some time off, and then come back to your own work and objectives.

                                Drink this poison, digest it later. Good luck.

                                share|improve this answer

                                • 1

                                  Thanks for your feedback. It actually helps having others understanding this feeling of despair I’m having at the moment. What you say makes sense. I’ll consider it.
                                  – Romain
                                  Nov 29 at 18:29

                                • 1

                                  I’ve read your comments on the top answer (which is very good indeed). You’re right: they’re avoiding you because you’re “just some postdoc”. I am afraid editors and staff will think the same if you escalate this. For instance, a PhD student has international associations and regiment rules protecting them. Ever looked for international postdoc associations? This is a lonely ride, mate.
                                  – Scientist
                                  Nov 29 at 18:34

                                • 1

                                  Very lonely indeed. And yes I’ve tried a bit to look for associations but they’re almost inexistant where I am (I work in a country, the project is managed in another and some of the big bosses are in a third one…). I’ll see what I can do. Thanks again !
                                  – Romain
                                  Nov 29 at 18:37

                                • 1

                                  Interesting…thanks !
                                  – Romain
                                  Nov 29 at 19:20

                                • 2

                                  @MichaelMacAskill This is ultimately about empathy. We all know the sun is still shining outside, the OP probably has a healthy body and a long life ahead, and all the sweet PC rhetoric. Still he feels bypassed by closest colleagues in spite of 5 years of dedication to a project, and that hurts. Sure he (probably) can do whatever he wants later with his part of this project after he submits to a coup which also does’t feel nice. It’ll likely be a bit off sense & context without all the rest as planned, but hey, just look at that nice flower. Swell.
                                  – Scientist
                                  Nov 30 at 11:25

                                up vote
                                15
                                down vote

                                I am adding a short answer based on your updated question, now containing all key points.

                                I agree with you in that it must be infuriating to see 5-years-worth of your time flushed down by your colleagues behind your back. I have worked in such a group setting, in a highly competitive institution. I had colleagues in similar situations. Years of dedication and long meetings, lab work, learning, dedication, and the feeling that you don’t relate with the final outcome.

                                If you want to fight this battle, I believe others have provided you all relevant advice here. I just want to tell you what I’d do.

                                Your feelings are justified, but: (i) this is how ambitious institutions work, most of the time, and you cannot change that; (ii) working in a production line is frustrating as compared to the artisan’s life, however it is favored by modern society (read Karl Marx on this); (iii) as others say, you’ll end up with a nice publication on your CV and apparently the freedom to reorganize your data for another subsequent publication; (iv) modern academia is mostly about prestigious authorships and not quite about morals/personal values/human development; (v) any serious players involved will crush anyone standing between them and some “Nature” paper.

                                You are worried about justifying your contract time based on your publication outcome. Well, if you fight this war you’ll finish your contract with no paper, and the accusation of being a troublemaker. Also I believe you’re exaggerating this issue: likely you’ll have enough justification as long as you don’t mess things up (which you’re considering doing right now). I therefore suggest you accept their conditions, finish your contract, take some time off, and then come back to your own work and objectives.

                                Drink this poison, digest it later. Good luck.

                                share|improve this answer

                                • 1

                                  Thanks for your feedback. It actually helps having others understanding this feeling of despair I’m having at the moment. What you say makes sense. I’ll consider it.
                                  – Romain
                                  Nov 29 at 18:29

                                • 1

                                  I’ve read your comments on the top answer (which is very good indeed). You’re right: they’re avoiding you because you’re “just some postdoc”. I am afraid editors and staff will think the same if you escalate this. For instance, a PhD student has international associations and regiment rules protecting them. Ever looked for international postdoc associations? This is a lonely ride, mate.
                                  – Scientist
                                  Nov 29 at 18:34

                                • 1

                                  Very lonely indeed. And yes I’ve tried a bit to look for associations but they’re almost inexistant where I am (I work in a country, the project is managed in another and some of the big bosses are in a third one…). I’ll see what I can do. Thanks again !
                                  – Romain
                                  Nov 29 at 18:37

                                • 1

                                  Interesting…thanks !
                                  – Romain
                                  Nov 29 at 19:20

                                • 2

                                  @MichaelMacAskill This is ultimately about empathy. We all know the sun is still shining outside, the OP probably has a healthy body and a long life ahead, and all the sweet PC rhetoric. Still he feels bypassed by closest colleagues in spite of 5 years of dedication to a project, and that hurts. Sure he (probably) can do whatever he wants later with his part of this project after he submits to a coup which also does’t feel nice. It’ll likely be a bit off sense & context without all the rest as planned, but hey, just look at that nice flower. Swell.
                                  – Scientist
                                  Nov 30 at 11:25

                                up vote
                                15
                                down vote

                                up vote
                                15
                                down vote

                                I am adding a short answer based on your updated question, now containing all key points.

                                I agree with you in that it must be infuriating to see 5-years-worth of your time flushed down by your colleagues behind your back. I have worked in such a group setting, in a highly competitive institution. I had colleagues in similar situations. Years of dedication and long meetings, lab work, learning, dedication, and the feeling that you don’t relate with the final outcome.

                                If you want to fight this battle, I believe others have provided you all relevant advice here. I just want to tell you what I’d do.

                                Your feelings are justified, but: (i) this is how ambitious institutions work, most of the time, and you cannot change that; (ii) working in a production line is frustrating as compared to the artisan’s life, however it is favored by modern society (read Karl Marx on this); (iii) as others say, you’ll end up with a nice publication on your CV and apparently the freedom to reorganize your data for another subsequent publication; (iv) modern academia is mostly about prestigious authorships and not quite about morals/personal values/human development; (v) any serious players involved will crush anyone standing between them and some “Nature” paper.

                                You are worried about justifying your contract time based on your publication outcome. Well, if you fight this war you’ll finish your contract with no paper, and the accusation of being a troublemaker. Also I believe you’re exaggerating this issue: likely you’ll have enough justification as long as you don’t mess things up (which you’re considering doing right now). I therefore suggest you accept their conditions, finish your contract, take some time off, and then come back to your own work and objectives.

                                Drink this poison, digest it later. Good luck.

                                share|improve this answer

                                I am adding a short answer based on your updated question, now containing all key points.

                                I agree with you in that it must be infuriating to see 5-years-worth of your time flushed down by your colleagues behind your back. I have worked in such a group setting, in a highly competitive institution. I had colleagues in similar situations. Years of dedication and long meetings, lab work, learning, dedication, and the feeling that you don’t relate with the final outcome.

                                If you want to fight this battle, I believe others have provided you all relevant advice here. I just want to tell you what I’d do.

                                Your feelings are justified, but: (i) this is how ambitious institutions work, most of the time, and you cannot change that; (ii) working in a production line is frustrating as compared to the artisan’s life, however it is favored by modern society (read Karl Marx on this); (iii) as others say, you’ll end up with a nice publication on your CV and apparently the freedom to reorganize your data for another subsequent publication; (iv) modern academia is mostly about prestigious authorships and not quite about morals/personal values/human development; (v) any serious players involved will crush anyone standing between them and some “Nature” paper.

                                You are worried about justifying your contract time based on your publication outcome. Well, if you fight this war you’ll finish your contract with no paper, and the accusation of being a troublemaker. Also I believe you’re exaggerating this issue: likely you’ll have enough justification as long as you don’t mess things up (which you’re considering doing right now). I therefore suggest you accept their conditions, finish your contract, take some time off, and then come back to your own work and objectives.

                                Drink this poison, digest it later. Good luck.

                                share|improve this answer

                                share|improve this answer

                                share|improve this answer

                                answered Nov 29 at 17:41

                                Scientist

                                7,07512557

                                7,07512557

                                • 1

                                  Thanks for your feedback. It actually helps having others understanding this feeling of despair I’m having at the moment. What you say makes sense. I’ll consider it.
                                  – Romain
                                  Nov 29 at 18:29

                                • 1

                                  I’ve read your comments on the top answer (which is very good indeed). You’re right: they’re avoiding you because you’re “just some postdoc”. I am afraid editors and staff will think the same if you escalate this. For instance, a PhD student has international associations and regiment rules protecting them. Ever looked for international postdoc associations? This is a lonely ride, mate.
                                  – Scientist
                                  Nov 29 at 18:34

                                • 1

                                  Very lonely indeed. And yes I’ve tried a bit to look for associations but they’re almost inexistant where I am (I work in a country, the project is managed in another and some of the big bosses are in a third one…). I’ll see what I can do. Thanks again !
                                  – Romain
                                  Nov 29 at 18:37

                                • 1

                                  Interesting…thanks !
                                  – Romain
                                  Nov 29 at 19:20

                                • 2

                                  @MichaelMacAskill This is ultimately about empathy. We all know the sun is still shining outside, the OP probably has a healthy body and a long life ahead, and all the sweet PC rhetoric. Still he feels bypassed by closest colleagues in spite of 5 years of dedication to a project, and that hurts. Sure he (probably) can do whatever he wants later with his part of this project after he submits to a coup which also does’t feel nice. It’ll likely be a bit off sense & context without all the rest as planned, but hey, just look at that nice flower. Swell.
                                  – Scientist
                                  Nov 30 at 11:25

                                • 1

                                  Thanks for your feedback. It actually helps having others understanding this feeling of despair I’m having at the moment. What you say makes sense. I’ll consider it.
                                  – Romain
                                  Nov 29 at 18:29

                                • 1

                                  I’ve read your comments on the top answer (which is very good indeed). You’re right: they’re avoiding you because you’re “just some postdoc”. I am afraid editors and staff will think the same if you escalate this. For instance, a PhD student has international associations and regiment rules protecting them. Ever looked for international postdoc associations? This is a lonely ride, mate.
                                  – Scientist
                                  Nov 29 at 18:34

                                • 1

                                  Very lonely indeed. And yes I’ve tried a bit to look for associations but they’re almost inexistant where I am (I work in a country, the project is managed in another and some of the big bosses are in a third one…). I’ll see what I can do. Thanks again !
                                  – Romain
                                  Nov 29 at 18:37

                                • 1

                                  Interesting…thanks !
                                  – Romain
                                  Nov 29 at 19:20

                                • 2

                                  @MichaelMacAskill This is ultimately about empathy. We all know the sun is still shining outside, the OP probably has a healthy body and a long life ahead, and all the sweet PC rhetoric. Still he feels bypassed by closest colleagues in spite of 5 years of dedication to a project, and that hurts. Sure he (probably) can do whatever he wants later with his part of this project after he submits to a coup which also does’t feel nice. It’ll likely be a bit off sense & context without all the rest as planned, but hey, just look at that nice flower. Swell.
                                  – Scientist
                                  Nov 30 at 11:25

                                1

                                1

                                Thanks for your feedback. It actually helps having others understanding this feeling of despair I’m having at the moment. What you say makes sense. I’ll consider it.
                                – Romain
                                Nov 29 at 18:29

                                Thanks for your feedback. It actually helps having others understanding this feeling of despair I’m having at the moment. What you say makes sense. I’ll consider it.
                                – Romain
                                Nov 29 at 18:29

                                1

                                1

                                I’ve read your comments on the top answer (which is very good indeed). You’re right: they’re avoiding you because you’re “just some postdoc”. I am afraid editors and staff will think the same if you escalate this. For instance, a PhD student has international associations and regiment rules protecting them. Ever looked for international postdoc associations? This is a lonely ride, mate.
                                – Scientist
                                Nov 29 at 18:34

                                I’ve read your comments on the top answer (which is very good indeed). You’re right: they’re avoiding you because you’re “just some postdoc”. I am afraid editors and staff will think the same if you escalate this. For instance, a PhD student has international associations and regiment rules protecting them. Ever looked for international postdoc associations? This is a lonely ride, mate.
                                – Scientist
                                Nov 29 at 18:34

                                1

                                1

                                Very lonely indeed. And yes I’ve tried a bit to look for associations but they’re almost inexistant where I am (I work in a country, the project is managed in another and some of the big bosses are in a third one…). I’ll see what I can do. Thanks again !
                                – Romain
                                Nov 29 at 18:37

                                Very lonely indeed. And yes I’ve tried a bit to look for associations but they’re almost inexistant where I am (I work in a country, the project is managed in another and some of the big bosses are in a third one…). I’ll see what I can do. Thanks again !
                                – Romain
                                Nov 29 at 18:37

                                1

                                1

                                Interesting…thanks !
                                – Romain
                                Nov 29 at 19:20

                                Interesting…thanks !
                                – Romain
                                Nov 29 at 19:20

                                2

                                2

                                @MichaelMacAskill This is ultimately about empathy. We all know the sun is still shining outside, the OP probably has a healthy body and a long life ahead, and all the sweet PC rhetoric. Still he feels bypassed by closest colleagues in spite of 5 years of dedication to a project, and that hurts. Sure he (probably) can do whatever he wants later with his part of this project after he submits to a coup which also does’t feel nice. It’ll likely be a bit off sense & context without all the rest as planned, but hey, just look at that nice flower. Swell.
                                – Scientist
                                Nov 30 at 11:25

                                @MichaelMacAskill This is ultimately about empathy. We all know the sun is still shining outside, the OP probably has a healthy body and a long life ahead, and all the sweet PC rhetoric. Still he feels bypassed by closest colleagues in spite of 5 years of dedication to a project, and that hurts. Sure he (probably) can do whatever he wants later with his part of this project after he submits to a coup which also does’t feel nice. It’ll likely be a bit off sense & context without all the rest as planned, but hey, just look at that nice flower. Swell.
                                – Scientist
                                Nov 30 at 11:25

                                up vote
                                12
                                down vote

                                During my PhD I was also part as a computational person in a developmental biology project that made it into Nature. In contrast to your case we always discussed and agreed on how to proceed. Since the experimental results were spectacular, my contribution was kept at a bare minimum and buried in the SI not to upset any referees. Actually, the whole presentation was geared towards that: not upsetting any referees. Even after acceptance the text had to be reduced by a substantial amount. In my opinion the final paper does not really do justice to the whole project, so I can vividly imagine how you must feel and what is going on.

                                However, I don’t think it is worth risking a CNS paper (particularly as first author) over presentation (if e.g. your statistical analysis would be interpreted in a misleading way things would be different). Furthermore, I don’t think it is worth worsening the relationship with your colleagues. Publishing in Nature is a dirty business, but it certainly helps your career and it might help you publishing your work in more detail elsewhere. After all having a follow-up paper is almost as important as having the CNS if you are looking for a job. And not having letters of recommendation from involved big wigs would be a huge red flag.

                                I would strongly advice you to talk to a senior person you trust and who knows as much of the story as possible. I have never heard of legal steps helping anyone in academia. If you think it helps, I am happy to share my experience over Skype or something.

                                share|improve this answer

                                • A wise path. Did you follow up on your analysis anywhere else later? It is nice that you’ve been a similar situation the OP can relate to.
                                  – Scientist
                                  Nov 30 at 11:33

                                • 3

                                  My work resulted in two manuscripts, one about the construction and one about the analysis of the model. These manuscripts went through two or three rounds of revisions; barely any technical point was raised, but they admittedly required rewriting. However, after I left that lab for a postdoc they spent by now five years on various desks and chances that they ever get published are rapidly diminishing with me having taken a industry position this month … Thanks for asking 😉
                                  – qiv
                                  Nov 30 at 11:48

                                • Thanks for your feedback, very useful. I’d be ok if they at least would agree on putting some of my work specific to my field in the SI…let see if they can at least accept to put his back…because I end my contract in one month, a quite small periods to build an entire new paper.
                                  – Romain
                                  Nov 30 at 15:46

                                • Again, you need to talk to somebody who is good at this interdisciplinary game, because what a good move is for you depends on many circumstances: A (first author) CNS can open doors to interviews, but then you will need a strong proposal. A proposal might profit more from these “preliminary results” than from some pieces somewhere in the SI. If you don’t have a strong proposal yet and plan to do another postdoc, then you can write it up on the side and it would be easier to publish if it is newer, than if pieces have been published before!
                                  – qiv
                                  Dec 1 at 8:04

                                up vote
                                12
                                down vote

                                During my PhD I was also part as a computational person in a developmental biology project that made it into Nature. In contrast to your case we always discussed and agreed on how to proceed. Since the experimental results were spectacular, my contribution was kept at a bare minimum and buried in the SI not to upset any referees. Actually, the whole presentation was geared towards that: not upsetting any referees. Even after acceptance the text had to be reduced by a substantial amount. In my opinion the final paper does not really do justice to the whole project, so I can vividly imagine how you must feel and what is going on.

                                However, I don’t think it is worth risking a CNS paper (particularly as first author) over presentation (if e.g. your statistical analysis would be interpreted in a misleading way things would be different). Furthermore, I don’t think it is worth worsening the relationship with your colleagues. Publishing in Nature is a dirty business, but it certainly helps your career and it might help you publishing your work in more detail elsewhere. After all having a follow-up paper is almost as important as having the CNS if you are looking for a job. And not having letters of recommendation from involved big wigs would be a huge red flag.

                                I would strongly advice you to talk to a senior person you trust and who knows as much of the story as possible. I have never heard of legal steps helping anyone in academia. If you think it helps, I am happy to share my experience over Skype or something.

                                share|improve this answer

                                • A wise path. Did you follow up on your analysis anywhere else later? It is nice that you’ve been a similar situation the OP can relate to.
                                  – Scientist
                                  Nov 30 at 11:33

                                • 3

                                  My work resulted in two manuscripts, one about the construction and one about the analysis of the model. These manuscripts went through two or three rounds of revisions; barely any technical point was raised, but they admittedly required rewriting. However, after I left that lab for a postdoc they spent by now five years on various desks and chances that they ever get published are rapidly diminishing with me having taken a industry position this month … Thanks for asking 😉
                                  – qiv
                                  Nov 30 at 11:48

                                • Thanks for your feedback, very useful. I’d be ok if they at least would agree on putting some of my work specific to my field in the SI…let see if they can at least accept to put his back…because I end my contract in one month, a quite small periods to build an entire new paper.
                                  – Romain
                                  Nov 30 at 15:46

                                • Again, you need to talk to somebody who is good at this interdisciplinary game, because what a good move is for you depends on many circumstances: A (first author) CNS can open doors to interviews, but then you will need a strong proposal. A proposal might profit more from these “preliminary results” than from some pieces somewhere in the SI. If you don’t have a strong proposal yet and plan to do another postdoc, then you can write it up on the side and it would be easier to publish if it is newer, than if pieces have been published before!
                                  – qiv
                                  Dec 1 at 8:04

                                up vote
                                12
                                down vote

                                up vote
                                12
                                down vote

                                During my PhD I was also part as a computational person in a developmental biology project that made it into Nature. In contrast to your case we always discussed and agreed on how to proceed. Since the experimental results were spectacular, my contribution was kept at a bare minimum and buried in the SI not to upset any referees. Actually, the whole presentation was geared towards that: not upsetting any referees. Even after acceptance the text had to be reduced by a substantial amount. In my opinion the final paper does not really do justice to the whole project, so I can vividly imagine how you must feel and what is going on.

                                However, I don’t think it is worth risking a CNS paper (particularly as first author) over presentation (if e.g. your statistical analysis would be interpreted in a misleading way things would be different). Furthermore, I don’t think it is worth worsening the relationship with your colleagues. Publishing in Nature is a dirty business, but it certainly helps your career and it might help you publishing your work in more detail elsewhere. After all having a follow-up paper is almost as important as having the CNS if you are looking for a job. And not having letters of recommendation from involved big wigs would be a huge red flag.

                                I would strongly advice you to talk to a senior person you trust and who knows as much of the story as possible. I have never heard of legal steps helping anyone in academia. If you think it helps, I am happy to share my experience over Skype or something.

                                share|improve this answer

                                During my PhD I was also part as a computational person in a developmental biology project that made it into Nature. In contrast to your case we always discussed and agreed on how to proceed. Since the experimental results were spectacular, my contribution was kept at a bare minimum and buried in the SI not to upset any referees. Actually, the whole presentation was geared towards that: not upsetting any referees. Even after acceptance the text had to be reduced by a substantial amount. In my opinion the final paper does not really do justice to the whole project, so I can vividly imagine how you must feel and what is going on.

                                However, I don’t think it is worth risking a CNS paper (particularly as first author) over presentation (if e.g. your statistical analysis would be interpreted in a misleading way things would be different). Furthermore, I don’t think it is worth worsening the relationship with your colleagues. Publishing in Nature is a dirty business, but it certainly helps your career and it might help you publishing your work in more detail elsewhere. After all having a follow-up paper is almost as important as having the CNS if you are looking for a job. And not having letters of recommendation from involved big wigs would be a huge red flag.

                                I would strongly advice you to talk to a senior person you trust and who knows as much of the story as possible. I have never heard of legal steps helping anyone in academia. If you think it helps, I am happy to share my experience over Skype or something.

                                share|improve this answer

                                share|improve this answer

                                share|improve this answer

                                edited Dec 1 at 8:22

                                answered Nov 30 at 10:22

                                qiv

                                1215

                                1215

                                • A wise path. Did you follow up on your analysis anywhere else later? It is nice that you’ve been a similar situation the OP can relate to.
                                  – Scientist
                                  Nov 30 at 11:33

                                • 3

                                  My work resulted in two manuscripts, one about the construction and one about the analysis of the model. These manuscripts went through two or three rounds of revisions; barely any technical point was raised, but they admittedly required rewriting. However, after I left that lab for a postdoc they spent by now five years on various desks and chances that they ever get published are rapidly diminishing with me having taken a industry position this month … Thanks for asking 😉
                                  – qiv
                                  Nov 30 at 11:48

                                • Thanks for your feedback, very useful. I’d be ok if they at least would agree on putting some of my work specific to my field in the SI…let see if they can at least accept to put his back…because I end my contract in one month, a quite small periods to build an entire new paper.
                                  – Romain
                                  Nov 30 at 15:46

                                • Again, you need to talk to somebody who is good at this interdisciplinary game, because what a good move is for you depends on many circumstances: A (first author) CNS can open doors to interviews, but then you will need a strong proposal. A proposal might profit more from these “preliminary results” than from some pieces somewhere in the SI. If you don’t have a strong proposal yet and plan to do another postdoc, then you can write it up on the side and it would be easier to publish if it is newer, than if pieces have been published before!
                                  – qiv
                                  Dec 1 at 8:04

                                • A wise path. Did you follow up on your analysis anywhere else later? It is nice that you’ve been a similar situation the OP can relate to.
                                  – Scientist
                                  Nov 30 at 11:33

                                • 3

                                  My work resulted in two manuscripts, one about the construction and one about the analysis of the model. These manuscripts went through two or three rounds of revisions; barely any technical point was raised, but they admittedly required rewriting. However, after I left that lab for a postdoc they spent by now five years on various desks and chances that they ever get published are rapidly diminishing with me having taken a industry position this month … Thanks for asking 😉
                                  – qiv
                                  Nov 30 at 11:48

                                • Thanks for your feedback, very useful. I’d be ok if they at least would agree on putting some of my work specific to my field in the SI…let see if they can at least accept to put his back…because I end my contract in one month, a quite small periods to build an entire new paper.
                                  – Romain
                                  Nov 30 at 15:46

                                • Again, you need to talk to somebody who is good at this interdisciplinary game, because what a good move is for you depends on many circumstances: A (first author) CNS can open doors to interviews, but then you will need a strong proposal. A proposal might profit more from these “preliminary results” than from some pieces somewhere in the SI. If you don’t have a strong proposal yet and plan to do another postdoc, then you can write it up on the side and it would be easier to publish if it is newer, than if pieces have been published before!
                                  – qiv
                                  Dec 1 at 8:04

                                A wise path. Did you follow up on your analysis anywhere else later? It is nice that you’ve been a similar situation the OP can relate to.
                                – Scientist
                                Nov 30 at 11:33

                                A wise path. Did you follow up on your analysis anywhere else later? It is nice that you’ve been a similar situation the OP can relate to.
                                – Scientist
                                Nov 30 at 11:33

                                3

                                3

                                My work resulted in two manuscripts, one about the construction and one about the analysis of the model. These manuscripts went through two or three rounds of revisions; barely any technical point was raised, but they admittedly required rewriting. However, after I left that lab for a postdoc they spent by now five years on various desks and chances that they ever get published are rapidly diminishing with me having taken a industry position this month … Thanks for asking 😉
                                – qiv
                                Nov 30 at 11:48

                                My work resulted in two manuscripts, one about the construction and one about the analysis of the model. These manuscripts went through two or three rounds of revisions; barely any technical point was raised, but they admittedly required rewriting. However, after I left that lab for a postdoc they spent by now five years on various desks and chances that they ever get published are rapidly diminishing with me having taken a industry position this month … Thanks for asking 😉
                                – qiv
                                Nov 30 at 11:48

                                Thanks for your feedback, very useful. I’d be ok if they at least would agree on putting some of my work specific to my field in the SI…let see if they can at least accept to put his back…because I end my contract in one month, a quite small periods to build an entire new paper.
                                – Romain
                                Nov 30 at 15:46

                                Thanks for your feedback, very useful. I’d be ok if they at least would agree on putting some of my work specific to my field in the SI…let see if they can at least accept to put his back…because I end my contract in one month, a quite small periods to build an entire new paper.
                                – Romain
                                Nov 30 at 15:46

                                Again, you need to talk to somebody who is good at this interdisciplinary game, because what a good move is for you depends on many circumstances: A (first author) CNS can open doors to interviews, but then you will need a strong proposal. A proposal might profit more from these “preliminary results” than from some pieces somewhere in the SI. If you don’t have a strong proposal yet and plan to do another postdoc, then you can write it up on the side and it would be easier to publish if it is newer, than if pieces have been published before!
                                – qiv
                                Dec 1 at 8:04

                                Again, you need to talk to somebody who is good at this interdisciplinary game, because what a good move is for you depends on many circumstances: A (first author) CNS can open doors to interviews, but then you will need a strong proposal. A proposal might profit more from these “preliminary results” than from some pieces somewhere in the SI. If you don’t have a strong proposal yet and plan to do another postdoc, then you can write it up on the side and it would be easier to publish if it is newer, than if pieces have been published before!
                                – qiv
                                Dec 1 at 8:04

                                up vote
                                9
                                down vote

                                It is my understanding that articles in Nature have an almost “pop science” appeal, even though they have a very high impact factor.

                                Prudence thus dictates removing highly technical portions of the manuscript, and publishing them elsewhere. I know that after I read a paper in Nature, I know that I need to find the follow-up details either in the supplemental material, or in another journal.

                                share|improve this answer

                                • I was ok with putting most of my work in the SI, but they decided otherwise without consulting me. Too complicated for their field apparently, which means that they don’t want to consider this work as multidisciplinary with information insightful for both fields….
                                  – Romain
                                  Nov 30 at 9:10

                                • 1

                                  but yeah as it is since they don’t want to hear, I have no other choice to publish this material elsewhere, thus making the nature paper not interesting for scientists of my field (and therefore not acknowledging for my community the huge amount of effort I have put on this paper). My feeling is that when you look for a position (or job), a Nature paper on your CV won’t be perceived the same way whether it is published in your field or in someone else’s field. If at least they had done their move kindly and with arguments…
                                  – Romain
                                  Nov 30 at 9:10

                                • 3

                                  @Romain Most people know that Nature articles are not thorough nor technical, so I very much disagree with you. With the follow-up paper it will be obvious that the Nature paper was the fruit of your labor.
                                  – axsvl77
                                  Nov 30 at 11:10

                                • 1

                                  @Romain Nature is aimed at people wishing to learn what is going on outside of their field, they will then look at cited papers and papers that site to find more details if needed.
                                  – Ian
                                  Nov 30 at 11:28

                                • Why are you suggesting SI rather than a follow up article in another journal? I agree with everything else in this answer.
                                  – Dawn
                                  Nov 30 at 14:20

                                up vote
                                9
                                down vote

                                It is my understanding that articles in Nature have an almost “pop science” appeal, even though they have a very high impact factor.

                                Prudence thus dictates removing highly technical portions of the manuscript, and publishing them elsewhere. I know that after I read a paper in Nature, I know that I need to find the follow-up details either in the supplemental material, or in another journal.

                                share|improve this answer

                                • I was ok with putting most of my work in the SI, but they decided otherwise without consulting me. Too complicated for their field apparently, which means that they don’t want to consider this work as multidisciplinary with information insightful for both fields….
                                  – Romain
                                  Nov 30 at 9:10

                                • 1

                                  but yeah as it is since they don’t want to hear, I have no other choice to publish this material elsewhere, thus making the nature paper not interesting for scientists of my field (and therefore not acknowledging for my community the huge amount of effort I have put on this paper). My feeling is that when you look for a position (or job), a Nature paper on your CV won’t be perceived the same way whether it is published in your field or in someone else’s field. If at least they had done their move kindly and with arguments…
                                  – Romain
                                  Nov 30 at 9:10

                                • 3

                                  @Romain Most people know that Nature articles are not thorough nor technical, so I very much disagree with you. With the follow-up paper it will be obvious that the Nature paper was the fruit of your labor.
                                  – axsvl77
                                  Nov 30 at 11:10

                                • 1

                                  @Romain Nature is aimed at people wishing to learn what is going on outside of their field, they will then look at cited papers and papers that site to find more details if needed.
                                  – Ian
                                  Nov 30 at 11:28

                                • Why are you suggesting SI rather than a follow up article in another journal? I agree with everything else in this answer.
                                  – Dawn
                                  Nov 30 at 14:20

                                up vote
                                9
                                down vote

                                up vote
                                9
                                down vote

                                It is my understanding that articles in Nature have an almost “pop science” appeal, even though they have a very high impact factor.

                                Prudence thus dictates removing highly technical portions of the manuscript, and publishing them elsewhere. I know that after I read a paper in Nature, I know that I need to find the follow-up details either in the supplemental material, or in another journal.

                                share|improve this answer

                                It is my understanding that articles in Nature have an almost “pop science” appeal, even though they have a very high impact factor.

                                Prudence thus dictates removing highly technical portions of the manuscript, and publishing them elsewhere. I know that after I read a paper in Nature, I know that I need to find the follow-up details either in the supplemental material, or in another journal.

                                share|improve this answer

                                share|improve this answer

                                share|improve this answer

                                edited Nov 30 at 14:21

                                answered Nov 30 at 2:37

                                axsvl77

                                57029

                                57029

                                • I was ok with putting most of my work in the SI, but they decided otherwise without consulting me. Too complicated for their field apparently, which means that they don’t want to consider this work as multidisciplinary with information insightful for both fields….
                                  – Romain
                                  Nov 30 at 9:10

                                • 1

                                  but yeah as it is since they don’t want to hear, I have no other choice to publish this material elsewhere, thus making the nature paper not interesting for scientists of my field (and therefore not acknowledging for my community the huge amount of effort I have put on this paper). My feeling is that when you look for a position (or job), a Nature paper on your CV won’t be perceived the same way whether it is published in your field or in someone else’s field. If at least they had done their move kindly and with arguments…
                                  – Romain
                                  Nov 30 at 9:10

                                • 3

                                  @Romain Most people know that Nature articles are not thorough nor technical, so I very much disagree with you. With the follow-up paper it will be obvious that the Nature paper was the fruit of your labor.
                                  – axsvl77
                                  Nov 30 at 11:10

                                • 1

                                  @Romain Nature is aimed at people wishing to learn what is going on outside of their field, they will then look at cited papers and papers that site to find more details if needed.
                                  – Ian
                                  Nov 30 at 11:28

                                • Why are you suggesting SI rather than a follow up article in another journal? I agree with everything else in this answer.
                                  – Dawn
                                  Nov 30 at 14:20

                                • I was ok with putting most of my work in the SI, but they decided otherwise without consulting me. Too complicated for their field apparently, which means that they don’t want to consider this work as multidisciplinary with information insightful for both fields….
                                  – Romain
                                  Nov 30 at 9:10

                                • 1

                                  but yeah as it is since they don’t want to hear, I have no other choice to publish this material elsewhere, thus making the nature paper not interesting for scientists of my field (and therefore not acknowledging for my community the huge amount of effort I have put on this paper). My feeling is that when you look for a position (or job), a Nature paper on your CV won’t be perceived the same way whether it is published in your field or in someone else’s field. If at least they had done their move kindly and with arguments…
                                  – Romain
                                  Nov 30 at 9:10

                                • 3

                                  @Romain Most people know that Nature articles are not thorough nor technical, so I very much disagree with you. With the follow-up paper it will be obvious that the Nature paper was the fruit of your labor.
                                  – axsvl77
                                  Nov 30 at 11:10

                                • 1

                                  @Romain Nature is aimed at people wishing to learn what is going on outside of their field, they will then look at cited papers and papers that site to find more details if needed.
                                  – Ian
                                  Nov 30 at 11:28

                                • Why are you suggesting SI rather than a follow up article in another journal? I agree with everything else in this answer.
                                  – Dawn
                                  Nov 30 at 14:20

                                I was ok with putting most of my work in the SI, but they decided otherwise without consulting me. Too complicated for their field apparently, which means that they don’t want to consider this work as multidisciplinary with information insightful for both fields….
                                – Romain
                                Nov 30 at 9:10

                                I was ok with putting most of my work in the SI, but they decided otherwise without consulting me. Too complicated for their field apparently, which means that they don’t want to consider this work as multidisciplinary with information insightful for both fields….
                                – Romain
                                Nov 30 at 9:10

                                1

                                1

                                but yeah as it is since they don’t want to hear, I have no other choice to publish this material elsewhere, thus making the nature paper not interesting for scientists of my field (and therefore not acknowledging for my community the huge amount of effort I have put on this paper). My feeling is that when you look for a position (or job), a Nature paper on your CV won’t be perceived the same way whether it is published in your field or in someone else’s field. If at least they had done their move kindly and with arguments…
                                – Romain
                                Nov 30 at 9:10

                                but yeah as it is since they don’t want to hear, I have no other choice to publish this material elsewhere, thus making the nature paper not interesting for scientists of my field (and therefore not acknowledging for my community the huge amount of effort I have put on this paper). My feeling is that when you look for a position (or job), a Nature paper on your CV won’t be perceived the same way whether it is published in your field or in someone else’s field. If at least they had done their move kindly and with arguments…
                                – Romain
                                Nov 30 at 9:10

                                3

                                3

                                @Romain Most people know that Nature articles are not thorough nor technical, so I very much disagree with you. With the follow-up paper it will be obvious that the Nature paper was the fruit of your labor.
                                – axsvl77
                                Nov 30 at 11:10

                                @Romain Most people know that Nature articles are not thorough nor technical, so I very much disagree with you. With the follow-up paper it will be obvious that the Nature paper was the fruit of your labor.
                                – axsvl77
                                Nov 30 at 11:10

                                1

                                1

                                @Romain Nature is aimed at people wishing to learn what is going on outside of their field, they will then look at cited papers and papers that site to find more details if needed.
                                – Ian
                                Nov 30 at 11:28

                                @Romain Nature is aimed at people wishing to learn what is going on outside of their field, they will then look at cited papers and papers that site to find more details if needed.
                                – Ian
                                Nov 30 at 11:28

                                Why are you suggesting SI rather than a follow up article in another journal? I agree with everything else in this answer.
                                – Dawn
                                Nov 30 at 14:20

                                Why are you suggesting SI rather than a follow up article in another journal? I agree with everything else in this answer.
                                – Dawn
                                Nov 30 at 14:20

                                up vote
                                6
                                down vote

                                I worked on a project much less impactful than this, but where a similar situation took place. After working on the project for a year, we were ready to submit the whole group paper. Then the group leader contacted my supervisor and wanted to cut out the part that included our work because of space constraints. Ultimately we substantially reduced the portion that described our part of the work and the group paper was accepted in a relatively high impact journal. So I took the rest of the material I had worked on with my supervisor and put it into another paper, for which we have just gotten back a revise and resubmit.

                                I recommend the same path to you. Take your material and make a standalone journal paper. All of a sudden, instead of one publication for your years of work, you have two. Perhaps your contribution can go into a journal important for your specific field. While you may be correct that the Nature publication may not seem quite as cool since your field’s contribution is minimized, transdisciplinary research is important, and a Nature article is a big achievement. At my institution, which is a major research institution, such publications get highlighted in the internal news and bring other kudos as well to the authors.

                                The politics in a big group effort can be intense, and you are too junior to burn all your bridges on this one. The time for making the point you wanted to make was sooner, and the heavies in the group didn’t agree with you. As your career continues this type of politics will continue to exist. Unless there is truly an ethical concern, it is probably not worthwhile to fight the tide on these. Also, keep in mind that we can all be a little blinded to the big picture. Think of all the musicians who have left groups to pursue their solo careers and then disappeared from view. Perhaps the article you have cowritten has been pared down to be a true classic for the related field.

                                share|improve this answer

                                • Thank you for your feedback. I guess the problem in my case is that I’ve dedicated 5 years of work during a second postdoc, and at this stage, this publication is crucial for my CV i.e. despite the fact that I hate this way of thinking, a 5 years work for a low impact journal will be more difficult to “sell”, hence lowering down my chance to continue in academic research…moreover, in certain research institute I’m trying to apply to, I am now also getting too old to get yet another postdoc… It’s the whole package let say that puts me a bit into trouble.
                                  – Romain
                                  Dec 4 at 12:37

                                • Perhaps you can send your other work to a high impact journal for your field. Good luck with the situation. I think the Nature article will aid your case.
                                  – Liz
                                  2 days ago

                                up vote
                                6
                                down vote

                                I worked on a project much less impactful than this, but where a similar situation took place. After working on the project for a year, we were ready to submit the whole group paper. Then the group leader contacted my supervisor and wanted to cut out the part that included our work because of space constraints. Ultimately we substantially reduced the portion that described our part of the work and the group paper was accepted in a relatively high impact journal. So I took the rest of the material I had worked on with my supervisor and put it into another paper, for which we have just gotten back a revise and resubmit.

                                I recommend the same path to you. Take your material and make a standalone journal paper. All of a sudden, instead of one publication for your years of work, you have two. Perhaps your contribution can go into a journal important for your specific field. While you may be correct that the Nature publication may not seem quite as cool since your field’s contribution is minimized, transdisciplinary research is important, and a Nature article is a big achievement. At my institution, which is a major research institution, such publications get highlighted in the internal news and bring other kudos as well to the authors.

                                The politics in a big group effort can be intense, and you are too junior to burn all your bridges on this one. The time for making the point you wanted to make was sooner, and the heavies in the group didn’t agree with you. As your career continues this type of politics will continue to exist. Unless there is truly an ethical concern, it is probably not worthwhile to fight the tide on these. Also, keep in mind that we can all be a little blinded to the big picture. Think of all the musicians who have left groups to pursue their solo careers and then disappeared from view. Perhaps the article you have cowritten has been pared down to be a true classic for the related field.

                                share|improve this answer

                                • Thank you for your feedback. I guess the problem in my case is that I’ve dedicated 5 years of work during a second postdoc, and at this stage, this publication is crucial for my CV i.e. despite the fact that I hate this way of thinking, a 5 years work for a low impact journal will be more difficult to “sell”, hence lowering down my chance to continue in academic research…moreover, in certain research institute I’m trying to apply to, I am now also getting too old to get yet another postdoc… It’s the whole package let say that puts me a bit into trouble.
                                  – Romain
                                  Dec 4 at 12:37

                                • Perhaps you can send your other work to a high impact journal for your field. Good luck with the situation. I think the Nature article will aid your case.
                                  – Liz
                                  2 days ago

                                up vote
                                6
                                down vote

                                up vote
                                6
                                down vote

                                I worked on a project much less impactful than this, but where a similar situation took place. After working on the project for a year, we were ready to submit the whole group paper. Then the group leader contacted my supervisor and wanted to cut out the part that included our work because of space constraints. Ultimately we substantially reduced the portion that described our part of the work and the group paper was accepted in a relatively high impact journal. So I took the rest of the material I had worked on with my supervisor and put it into another paper, for which we have just gotten back a revise and resubmit.

                                I recommend the same path to you. Take your material and make a standalone journal paper. All of a sudden, instead of one publication for your years of work, you have two. Perhaps your contribution can go into a journal important for your specific field. While you may be correct that the Nature publication may not seem quite as cool since your field’s contribution is minimized, transdisciplinary research is important, and a Nature article is a big achievement. At my institution, which is a major research institution, such publications get highlighted in the internal news and bring other kudos as well to the authors.

                                The politics in a big group effort can be intense, and you are too junior to burn all your bridges on this one. The time for making the point you wanted to make was sooner, and the heavies in the group didn’t agree with you. As your career continues this type of politics will continue to exist. Unless there is truly an ethical concern, it is probably not worthwhile to fight the tide on these. Also, keep in mind that we can all be a little blinded to the big picture. Think of all the musicians who have left groups to pursue their solo careers and then disappeared from view. Perhaps the article you have cowritten has been pared down to be a true classic for the related field.

                                share|improve this answer

                                I worked on a project much less impactful than this, but where a similar situation took place. After working on the project for a year, we were ready to submit the whole group paper. Then the group leader contacted my supervisor and wanted to cut out the part that included our work because of space constraints. Ultimately we substantially reduced the portion that described our part of the work and the group paper was accepted in a relatively high impact journal. So I took the rest of the material I had worked on with my supervisor and put it into another paper, for which we have just gotten back a revise and resubmit.

                                I recommend the same path to you. Take your material and make a standalone journal paper. All of a sudden, instead of one publication for your years of work, you have two. Perhaps your contribution can go into a journal important for your specific field. While you may be correct that the Nature publication may not seem quite as cool since your field’s contribution is minimized, transdisciplinary research is important, and a Nature article is a big achievement. At my institution, which is a major research institution, such publications get highlighted in the internal news and bring other kudos as well to the authors.

                                The politics in a big group effort can be intense, and you are too junior to burn all your bridges on this one. The time for making the point you wanted to make was sooner, and the heavies in the group didn’t agree with you. As your career continues this type of politics will continue to exist. Unless there is truly an ethical concern, it is probably not worthwhile to fight the tide on these. Also, keep in mind that we can all be a little blinded to the big picture. Think of all the musicians who have left groups to pursue their solo careers and then disappeared from view. Perhaps the article you have cowritten has been pared down to be a true classic for the related field.

                                share|improve this answer

                                share|improve this answer

                                share|improve this answer

                                answered Nov 30 at 19:10

                                Liz

                                611

                                611

                                • Thank you for your feedback. I guess the problem in my case is that I’ve dedicated 5 years of work during a second postdoc, and at this stage, this publication is crucial for my CV i.e. despite the fact that I hate this way of thinking, a 5 years work for a low impact journal will be more difficult to “sell”, hence lowering down my chance to continue in academic research…moreover, in certain research institute I’m trying to apply to, I am now also getting too old to get yet another postdoc… It’s the whole package let say that puts me a bit into trouble.
                                  – Romain
                                  Dec 4 at 12:37

                                • Perhaps you can send your other work to a high impact journal for your field. Good luck with the situation. I think the Nature article will aid your case.
                                  – Liz
                                  2 days ago

                                • Thank you for your feedback. I guess the problem in my case is that I’ve dedicated 5 years of work during a second postdoc, and at this stage, this publication is crucial for my CV i.e. despite the fact that I hate this way of thinking, a 5 years work for a low impact journal will be more difficult to “sell”, hence lowering down my chance to continue in academic research…moreover, in certain research institute I’m trying to apply to, I am now also getting too old to get yet another postdoc… It’s the whole package let say that puts me a bit into trouble.
                                  – Romain
                                  Dec 4 at 12:37

                                • Perhaps you can send your other work to a high impact journal for your field. Good luck with the situation. I think the Nature article will aid your case.
                                  – Liz
                                  2 days ago

                                Thank you for your feedback. I guess the problem in my case is that I’ve dedicated 5 years of work during a second postdoc, and at this stage, this publication is crucial for my CV i.e. despite the fact that I hate this way of thinking, a 5 years work for a low impact journal will be more difficult to “sell”, hence lowering down my chance to continue in academic research…moreover, in certain research institute I’m trying to apply to, I am now also getting too old to get yet another postdoc… It’s the whole package let say that puts me a bit into trouble.
                                – Romain
                                Dec 4 at 12:37

                                Thank you for your feedback. I guess the problem in my case is that I’ve dedicated 5 years of work during a second postdoc, and at this stage, this publication is crucial for my CV i.e. despite the fact that I hate this way of thinking, a 5 years work for a low impact journal will be more difficult to “sell”, hence lowering down my chance to continue in academic research…moreover, in certain research institute I’m trying to apply to, I am now also getting too old to get yet another postdoc… It’s the whole package let say that puts me a bit into trouble.
                                – Romain
                                Dec 4 at 12:37

                                Perhaps you can send your other work to a high impact journal for your field. Good luck with the situation. I think the Nature article will aid your case.
                                – Liz
                                2 days ago

                                Perhaps you can send your other work to a high impact journal for your field. Good luck with the situation. I think the Nature article will aid your case.
                                – Liz
                                2 days ago

                                up vote
                                2
                                down vote

                                In general, publicaltion requires permission or a license, but the license may be implied and may not always be revocable.

                                You marked this as a legal issue. As always, my only advice is that you speak with a competent lawyer in your jurisdiction if you have any thoughts on taking legal action. The legal issue will be copyright, though false light claims or right of publicity claims could also come into play depending on the full circumstances.

                                Generally, in the USA, an author including a joint author, gains copyright over their work and may use that copyright to block publication of the work without their permission even if the co-authors wish to publish. (Exceptions such as fair use, legal privilege, and de minimis use exist, but these are far beyond the scope of the question)

                                With that said, remember that permission once given cannot always be immediately withdrawn in the context of copyright. If, hypothetically, a joint author were to give permission, even implicitly, to publish at the outset of a project they may not be able to withdraw that at the end even if they are dissatisfied with the work in its finished form. I refuse to give legal advice on this forum so I will not ask about your specific situation, but as a general rule most academic collaborations I have dealt with have involved giving that permission towards the beginning. Large scale ventures involving grants and financing often have this explicitly in a contract or collaboration agreement. Smaller scale lower-cost ventures often have more informal arrangements but still involve conduct that would grant an implied license to publish that may be hard to withdraw.

                                Note that this particular question may truly have different answers in different jurisdictions since Moral Rights (droits moraux) vary significantly between countries.

                                A word on ethics

                                The ethics of the situation are another matter. While reasonable people may disagree, I personally feel it would be unethical or at least unseemly for your co-authors to publish this with your name and your work before they reach some sort of compromise you feel to be acceptable, which in this case may be splitting the matter into two papers which are submitted to journals in different fields.

                                share|improve this answer

                                • 2

                                  Thank you for your feedback. Your statement on permission is very interesting. I feel however that I only gave my permission once for the first submission. I would find it very puzzling that this give them the authorization to make major changes without my consent. As for your word on ethics, I completely agree. And I think this is why I have so much trouble letting things go. They did not behave correctly.
                                  – Romain