My colleagues and I recently published a resource paper with a finding that could suggest a mechanism for a disease-to-gene correlation from a 2014 study. I'd like to inform the authors. But, the contact email given with the 2014 paper is dead, and I can't find a better one. Is it too creepy to track these folks down on Google? Should I give up? Is there a better way to get in touch?

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    What do you mean "track down"? Googling their names to see if you can find current professional contact info doesn't seem creepy at all. – Nate Eldredge Jan 17 '19 at 23:22
  • Yup, that's what I meant. – eric_kernfeld Jan 18 '19 at 0:13

If "tracking them down on Google" means looking up their names, and finding a clearly posted contact address - perhaps on their personal website, or their new university's website - then absolutely go for it. Contact details like e-mail addresses unfortunately change every now and then when people move institutions, so this is just standard procedure. I wouldn't consider that creepy at all, and would be happy to learn about your paper. Now, if you go much further than that in your efforts, well, yeah you'll risk getting close to creepy territory. I wouldn't cross check their names and calling them on their work phone at their new industry job, for example, nor show up unannounced at their home...

Another way to get in touch that might work depending on the circumstances, is running into one of these authors at a conference.

  • I didn't find a clearly posted current professional email for the corresponding author, though he does have a blog. (He's a big shot and he's probably past the email event horizon.) I guess it's time to call it quits. – eric_kernfeld Jan 18 '19 at 0:15
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    @eric_kernfeld Note that emailing one of the other authors isn't necessarily out of the question. Particularly if this is a paper where the corresponding author is the most senior, it's quite possible that one of the others is the student who did most of the work, and might actually be more interested. – Anyon Jan 18 '19 at 0:44
  • This is good advice. I looked for emails for four of the authors before giving up. Then I decided to look one more time and I actually found info for the first author. I've sent a message now. – eric_kernfeld Jan 18 '19 at 5:09

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