So my student and I are writing a paper, my question is: Among [email protected] vs [email protected]

which sounds more professional?

I personally submitted a paper back when I was a bachelor student using my gmail address, although I had a similar student account like the one above. But my supervisor back then advised me not to use an @student account

In this related question, a reviewer mentioned that he tends to have a negative a-priori when he sees an author of a paper with a gmail address (he admits that it should mainly be about the quality of the work, but he can't help it)

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    Why not consider a third option? Your student may be able to get another email address that looks more professional and can be used indefinitely. For instance, many professional societies offer addresses to their members. Commented Aug 24, 2013 at 22:54
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    Nobody cares about your email address. Only the content of the paper matters.
    – JeffE
    Commented Aug 25, 2013 at 2:07
  • 5
    university email always looks better
    – seteropere
    Commented Aug 25, 2013 at 12:28
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    Isn't this a duplicate of E-mail address to use in publications? Commented Sep 13, 2013 at 17:14
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    @JeffE; I agree up to a point. Don't use [email protected]
    – vadim123
    Commented Mar 28, 2014 at 17:04

7 Answers 7


It depends on many things, which I tried to order by descending priority:

  • Possible journal policy: in most cases, they don't have one
  • Possible employer policy: my own institution forbids the use of gmail.com addresses in lieu of our professional ones, because of a national policy forbidding use of commercial email providers for state-paid positions (prohibitions which my institution extends to students)
  • Which email address you'll keep longer: students email is temporary, but gmail.com may also be (it may not be hard to imagine that, in some near future, you become infuriated by Google's (or any company's) behavior and close your account). On that note: if you graduated from some institution, you may get a permanent alumni email redirection, which may last longer than all those individual accounts.
  • Which email looks more professional: [email protected] sure doesn't do any good for your reputation.
  • 1
    It was difficult to choose a best answer.. I chose this one as it is short, organized and covered most of the points suggested by others. But I'd also like to add the solutions suggested by sr3u: "using an alias from a professional society (e.g. acm.org, ieee.org, ams.org etc..)" and by Faheem Mitha: "Create a custom email, including buying ones own domain, and paying for custom email hosting for email addresses of the form [email protected]" Commented Sep 16, 2013 at 9:56
  • It is actually quite easy to imagine being infuriated by Google's behavior and closing your account. In fact, I encourage readers to do just that, given Google forwarding your data to the NSA (as per the Snowden revelations), and many other breaches of privacy and forms of mass surveillance.
    – einpoklum
    Commented Aug 28, 2020 at 19:25

From personal experience, I have used my gmail account in the papers I have had published, without any hassles (in journals of impact factor 2+). I use the gmail account as it is one I still will be using when I complete my PhD, thus no longer have my university account.

Like with many things, it is dependent on the journal's policies - best to read up on what they expect, if in doubt, write and ask them. They may allow it, but it may be due to email addresses like gmail going to their spam folder.


Let me suggest a different direction (even though it doesn't directly answer your specific question):

Don't put your email address on the paper.

(obviously, put whatever you want for the correspondence when submitting the paper).

When I was a grad student, my advisor forbid me to put an email address for us on any papers unless it was required by the formatting guidelines. We just left out email addresses altogether, for the following reason:

If someone wants to find you, a simple Google search will turn up an email address that will be at least as current, if not more current, than the address on the paper.

"But what if my old website is still active with my old address?" you might complain. That's your own fault for not policing old websites. If you have switched institutions, your new website should quickly rise (or will eventually rise, anyway) above your previous sites, cached pages notwithstanding.

Will there be false hits because someone didn't find your up-to-date email? Sure. I'll argue that just as many times the email you put on the paper will be different than the one you currently use.

The fact is that email addresses change, and what you put on your paper may not matter in a year, or two, or twenty.

  • 11
    Is it always the case that "a simple Google search" will turn up a working email address? What about common names? It is true that a well maintained web site, with a working/current email address and current list of publications, should rank highly on search results, though many don't have such a thing. Commented Aug 25, 2013 at 17:49
  • @FaheemMitha more often than not you know more than just the name of the person you are looking for. Smart keywords yield better results ;)
    – posdef
    Commented Aug 26, 2013 at 7:12
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    @FaheemMitha ..."though many don't have such a thing." This is a good reason to ensure you have at least a minimal web site that highlights your name, past affiliations, and papers. Then make sure you Google yourself (preferably without being logged in to a Google account, as that seems to re-order search results and many times "knows" who you are). Your page should eventually show up in the first few hits. If it doesn't, tweak the title, key words, etc. until it does. Commented Aug 26, 2013 at 7:37
  • "If you have switched institutions, your new website should quickly rise (or will eventually rise, anyway) above your previous sites, cached pages notwithstanding." - unless you switch to a position that does not publish pages for individual employees (e.g. when transistioning from academia to industry, which does not mean that your interest in doing research suddenly vanishes without a trace). Commented Dec 17, 2018 at 8:12

A university email address that I had long used become unavailable in 2011, so I faced the decision of what to use for publications, and indeed what email addresses to use in other places.

My main criteria was that I wanted a permanent email address, and I wanted maximum control over the email address, including reducing the possibility that others are reading/storing my email, and the option to change my hosting if I was unhappy with it while not having to change my email. Changing email is a real drag, and I think it is a good idea to use a permanent address for publications if possible. If someone is contacting you regarding a paper, and it bounces, it is possible whoever it is will just give up. Your prospective correspondent may try to search for a more current address, but why make it difficult? If you have a common name, searching may be more difficult.

The main issue asked in the question is what is more professional. Personally, I think this is a minor issue. Maybe some journals care, but I don't see why they should. They should be more concerned, in my opinion, whether you will be contactable by this email long term. Unfortunately, in many cases it is not possible to update publication email addresses afterwards, even online, so that makes it doubly important. Email to my old address (which I stopped using in 2011) now bounces, which is unfortunate, but I can't do anything about it.

There are many choices available out there. They include:

1) Free corporate email addresses. Google's gmail is a popular example in this category.

PROS: They are free. It is permanent as long as the provider does not close up shop or close your account for some reason.

CONS: They are not university addresses. Someone is probably going to read and possibly sell the contents of your email. Otherwise, why would they give away something free? Also, if the email hosting is hosted in the US, the NSA may store your email. As we know from recent news revelations, for gmail, we can assume that both Google and the NSA are going to be going through your email, or at least keeping it. You have little or no control over the quality of the hosting. Even access may be problematic at times.

2) University address (possibly using alumni accounts)

PROS: University address, which is generally a good thing for academic publications. The NSA might still sniff through the email, but it is unlikely the university will, though who knows these days?

CONS: Little control over the quality of the hosting or other parameters like the amount of storage allowed. If you want to change to another host, you will have to change the email. Possibly not permanent (for non-alumni addresses). If you don't work at the university any more, they will probably eventually shut down that email address (again, for non-alumni addresses).

3) Create a custom email, including buying ones own domain, and paying for custom email hosting for email addresses of the form [email protected].

PROS: Complete control over the email hosting. If you don't like the hosting, you can change it. One hopes a paid hosting company will not sniff through the email, though again who knows? For US hosts, the NSA is still a concern. It is a permanent address as long as you own the domain. You can make the email address easy to remember and to tell someone over the phone. Mine is extremely easy. Also, you can use [email protected]; i.e. you can choose whatever username you want.

CONS: Not a university address. You have to pay. However, the charge is not excessive; I pay $10.00 a month, and this is on the expensive side. There are cheaper options.

As you can guess, I went with option 3.

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    +1 for own domain. Best approach if you are worried about validity of the address in the future.
    – posdef
    Commented Aug 26, 2013 at 7:14

The problem of university addresses getting stale because the linked accounts are not available/active can also happen with other accounts. Gmail may be a bit more sensible than most, but I have suffered for using hotmail.com (Microsoft always knows best, including when to delete all your old saved mail wholesale without telling you).

If your student is a serious scholar, I recommend using an alias from a professional society (acm.org, ams.org, ieee.org, etc.) instead, which can be redirected to whatever actual account one currently uses. My old grad school address of [email protected] also has stayed for years, first as a pointer to my school e-mail account (now of course gone), and now as an alias for my work e-mail address that I use professionally. Your school may have some such option also, check with some local IT guru there.


In general, an institutional account looks more professional than a personal account. However, because of the transient nature of most student accounts, you may want to consider having your student open an account using [email protected] format, especially if their current gmail user-name happens to be something like [email protected]! This account should then be used for all academic/professional correspondence with individuals and institutions outside your university. (Obviously your student still needs to use the @student.university account within your university.)

Of course, also check the policy of the journal to which you are submitting. If they require an institutional email account, then this is a moot point.


I am publishing at a conference this month, and was surprised to see instructions to authors say email addresses are required and specifically urging industrial authors to use a more permanent address, such as @acm.org. ACM is a CS professional organization and I do agree that it looks better somehow than, say, gmail. I don't think that applies only to nonacademics, and of course a change in address is especially likely for students.

I agree with other answers saying email addresses have no place. The right info to include is an orcid to permanently disambiguate each author and provide a link to their current contact information. This looks ugly in a printed paper but should be on the site where it is published.

  • 1
    Might have something to do with the fact that you have to pay a membership fee to use an ACM address? Commented May 2, 2017 at 10:29
  • ACM was just a suggestion. You wouldn't join just for the email but if you're a member, you can get a long-term email address that is likely more stable than an institutional one. That being said, I opted for a company address because it was easier to use [email protected] than to enumerate each address. Oh, and because nobody cares.... Commented May 2, 2017 at 10:32
  • Or perhaps I misinterpreted that reply. If you meant ACM is better than gmail because it costs money, I don't think that's it. I think it is more about it being like a guild ... it is sort of an institutional address rather than a personal one. Commented May 2, 2017 at 10:36
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    No, I was worried mainly about the lock-in ("I'm not interested in ACM anymore, but I can't stop paying my yearly subscription or they'll take away my e-mail address"). Also, if this was an ACM conference pushing for authors to get their own subscriptions, that seems even more questionable. Commented May 2, 2017 at 12:10
  • Actually IEEE, which has a similar service. Commented May 2, 2017 at 12:20

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