Co-author not returning your paper?
How to Coauthor a Paper
If you're in a research-based discipline or profession, or if you want to start an academic career, you may want to get into academic publishing. Research papers can be time-consuming, so it often makes more sense to share the work with someone else and coauthor a paper. Choose your coauthor wisely, and draft a writing agreement before getting to work to help things run more smoothly.
Choosing Your Partners
Talk to faculty.If you're a student, talking to faculty in your department may be the easiest way for you to find potential partners to coauthor a paper with you. Even if you already work out in the field, university professors may be able to help connect you with potential partners and other resources.
- Target faculty whose research interests within the larger discipline are similar to your own. They sometimes have requests for papers and may have something that would interest you.
Pitch your own idea.In some cases, you may already have an idea for what you want to research and write about, but you don't have the time or resources to complete the paper on your own. In this situation you'll want to be more selective about who you choose as your research and writing partner.
- If you have your own idea, present it to potential partners along with information about your general writing style and the tone you want to set for your paper. Since it's your idea, they should be willing to follow your lead.
- If you're pitching your own idea, be wary of potential partners who have significantly more experience than you, or who give the indication that they might try to take over the project. You want to protect your own ideas and your own work.
Search proposals in your field.If you don't have an idea of your own but still want to work on a paper, check sources in your field to learn about open calls for papers and other academics who are looking for writing or research partners.
- If you don't find open calls for papers in your field, look at current publications in your area of interest to find others who have recently published. Reach out to them, explaining your interest. They may know of other academics with pending co-authorship opportunities.
- Respected academic journals in your field may have listings or calls for papers. You also might look on the websites of any professional or academic societies related to your discipline.
- Faculty at a local university can point you to other sources where you can find people interested in co-authoring a paper.
Discuss your goals and interests.Before you agree to work with another person to co-author a paper, sit down with them to describe the project and what you hope to accomplish through your work. Include any personal interest you might have in the subject or the paper.
- For example, suppose you want to research a new drug because your sister is dying of the disease the drug is supposed to treat. Your coauthor should know about this interest so you can talk about what happens if it turns out the drug is ineffective. Let your coauthor know whether you intend to stick with the paper even if it doesn't ultimately advance your goals.
Compare writing and editing ability.Your ideal coauthor will be someone whose writing and editing ability is either on par with yours or slightly stronger. If one coauthor is significantly stronger than the other as a writer or editor, typically they'll end up doing more of that work.
- If your strengths complement each other, this can work. For example, suppose you're a great writer but a terrible editor. Your coauthor is the opposite – terrible writer, great editor. As long as you can work together this way, you doing all the writing and your coauthor doing all the editing would be a fair division of labor for the two of you.
- Be sure to discuss your perceived strengths and weaknesses before deciding to work together. You want to make sure that your partner knows where they excel and where your help may be beneficial.
Drafting a Writing Agreement
Discuss hypothetical situations.The best writing agreement anticipates any problems that are likely to come up over the course of working on the paper. Brainstorm possible issues with your coauthor so you can talk about what you would do.
- For example, you want to discuss what might happen if one of you wants to abandon the research. You want to make sure the paper isn't blocked from publication for the remaining author.
List authorship order.In many cases, the primary author (who should be listed first) is obvious. Usually this is the person who had the original idea. However, if you're working with multiple authors, alphabetical order may be more appropriate.
- Make sure all coauthors agree on how their names will be listed at the outset. It may sound silly, but people's egos can be bruised easily by something as simple as authorship order.
Determine who owns the data.If you're coauthoring a scientific paper for which experiments are performed or data is collected, decide at the outset who will own the raw data and any analysis of that data.
- Data ownership can be important for any follow-up research, but it also can become an issue if one coauthor decides to leave before the paper is complete.
- Include guidelines to allow other coauthors to continue to use the data after the paper is complete or if the owner of the data wants out of the project.
Discuss follow-up papers.Your writing agreement should include guidelines for what happens if one of you wants to write a second paper using the same data gathered for the first paper, especially if only one author owns the data.
- You may make an agreement that there will be no follow-up papers unless all coauthors agree to participate. This is perhaps the easiest solution, but it only works if the process of writing the paper turns out to be a positive experience for all involved.
Decide who will be the spokesperson.Depending on the interest generated in your paper, you may have calls or letters asking questions about your research and your findings. Generally it's best for your writing agreement to anticipate this possibility.
- Designating one point person ensures that everything said about the paper in public is consistent, and that you and your coauthor don't inadvertently contradict each other.
- If you want to discuss any requests before responding, include this in the writing agreement as well.
Provide a method for resolving conflicts.When you first agree to coauthor a paper with someone else, you assume the process will be smooth – otherwise you never would have agreed to work with them in the first place. But your writing agreement needs to address the possibility of a dispute.
- For example, you want to discuss whether one of you has the option of publishing the paper on their own if the other pulls out and no longer wants to be associated with the project. While you may take their name off the paper as a coauthor, you can still mention their contributions in an acknowledgments section.
Dividing the Workload
Assess each writer's strengths.Ideally, you want each coauthor to work on the parts of the project where they have the most skills and experience. That way you're both putting your best work into the project.
- You might each list the things you feel strongest and most comfortable doing, along with the things you feel weakest and least comfortable doing. See where these lists complement each other and how you can collaborate to get the best possible outcome.
Outline the project.Once you and your coauthor have a general writing agreement fleshed out, sit down and look at the various steps involved with the completion of the project. This will help you figure out a workflow that best accommodates each coauthor's strengths.
- For example, if you are a better writer and your coauthor is a better editor, you might write each section of the paper and then pass that section to your coauthor to edit while you get to work on the next section. When the paper's finished, you'll come together to finalize the complete draft.
- As you outline, you should also discuss the process for finishing the article. There will always be more you can write and edit, so both authors should be on the same page about when an article is considered complete enough to submit for initial consideration.
Maintain consistent communication.While you're collaborating, phone calls and emails about the project should be answered in a timely manner. Establish a time period for responses, which you can include in your writer's agreement.
- For example, you may agree that you will respond to all phone calls within 24 hours and all emails within 72 hours.
- You also may want to set up regular weekly meetings to discuss the project and update each other on your progress.
Be willing to compromise.When you co-author a paper, the other person's name and reputation is on the line just as much as yours is. You may have to sacrifice some aspects of your personal style to create a cohesive final product.
- This is especially important if you both are writing different sections of the paper. You want the paper to have a single, consistent voice – not be written in two drastically different styles.
- When conflicts arise, think about what would be best for the paper and the project as a whole and work with your coauthor to reach that end. This may require putting your own ego to the side for the sake of the project, but the result will be worth it.
- Check out other publications in your field to see if co-authorship is common and beneficial. If your field doesn't commonly feature coauthored papers, talk to your professors and advisors to see if co-authoring is really the right choice for you.
Video: How to Select a Coauthor to Act as the Corresponding Author in PLOS Editorial Manager
How to Get Fit (for Kids)
How to Defend Yourself in a Pet Injury or Death Lawsuit
How To Start Your Own Art Collection – It’s Not As Scary As It Seems (We Promise)
5 Fun Ideas for Babys First Halloween
Ilana Glazer Phoebe Robinson Dropped Feminist Merch
Fast Lower Body Routine Equals 45-Minutes at The Gym
5 Screenings Men Over 50 Need
10 Best Shoe Stores In Sydney
How to remove tan with gram flour Fairness with gram flour
Amazing Makeup Ideas To Make Your Hooded Eyes Pop
How to Avoid Singing Through Your Nose
Bad Headaches for Mom Equal Colicky Baby