Researcher X is well known in area Y for the past five years. He finished his PhD about 4 years ago and now has over 1600 citations. In area Y, he has been the first author of all published survey and tutorial articles. Now someone (researcher A) writes a survey on area Y, narrowed down to a particular aspect in the same journals where Researcher X publishes. He submits his paper and got a rejection. Thus, A thinks the paper would highly benefit from researcher X's experience. The problem is there are strong indications that Researcher X is a reviewer of A's paper. Since A would like to resubmit to this journal, how could he write a convincing letter to Researcher X inviting him for co-authorship. For instance, does this look fine enough?

Dear Researcher X,

I am writing you with respect to my manuscript titled: 'My Title'. I will like to add more value to this paper to meet reputable journal G's standard. It is pertinent that I mention that the paper has been previously rejected from this journal with an opportunity for resubmission. I am thus requesting your assistance and co-authorship to improve on the quality of this manuscript.

I anticipate your response

  • 3
    Adding a Coauthor without him having significant contribution to the paper is highly unethical, especially if you do it just to get the paper through. So does he actually have something to offer to improve the mansucript? (And never tell them you want their coauthorship to have better chance of publishing...)
    – user64845
    Commented May 4, 2018 at 15:46
  • @DSVA You basically said what I posted as an answer, but more clearly! Feel free to create your own answer and harvest the upvotes. Commented May 4, 2018 at 15:49
  • Definitely, you wouldn't add an author because of a chance of publication. He has to significantly add value to the strength and message of the paper. You invite him as a co-author because his experience and insight into what the paper of such kind should really look like. Then one can benefit from his experience and technical knowledge in that area during the course of one's study Commented May 4, 2018 at 22:33

1 Answer 1


Two points.

  1. It's actually irrelevant, if X was the reviewer of the paper or not. If you want to ask them, do it. It does not matter, if X knows the paper already or not, but assume they don't.
  2. I would appeal more to the professional interests of X in the mail. Like, "this paper focuses on the weight distribution of spherical cows in vacuum. My coauthors and I think the paper might benefit from your expertise on spherical horses in low gravity".

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