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I am soon submitting my first paper to a journal (in the humanities) and am unsure of the proper etiquette/practices of doing this. Some questions I have are:

  1. Do I include the acknowledgements in the initial manuscript I submit, or should these be added after review and acceptance?

  2. Is it appropriate to thank professors who have given general good writing and research advice (during office hours and emails instigated by me) when they did not specifically relate to the content of my paper (but have been helpful in the writing and research of it)?

  3. Do I need to notify people I am planning to thank in advance? For example, if I received constructive feedback from a noteworthy person in my field, could it be potentially damaging to their high reputation if someone (new) like me thanks them?

  4. Do I need to thank my home university when most of the research has been conducted during time off between BA graduation and MA program acceptance?

  • Do you have an advisor who would be okay with you asking them this? I also suggest you to look through other atricles in your field how they do this (for (2) and (4)). – user105041 Mar 1 at 16:30
  • I currently do not have an advisor, but I have some professors at my undergrad institution that I am relatively close with (and they are some of the potential people I am asking about, so I am unsure if I should bring this up or not). I have looked at other articles, but since many of the thanked are only named individuals I am unsure of their specific help to the author. – Kevin Miller Mar 1 at 16:35
  • 1. Include them in the initial manuscript, unless you have specific reasons not to. – darij grinberg Mar 1 at 16:44
  • 2. Nothing specifically wrong with this, but it's not common. Maybe worth doing in your first couple papers. – darij grinberg Mar 1 at 16:44
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    Just one advice: the answer may be dependent on yout field -- here are many mathematicians (i am one of them) and computer scientists, so try to wait for an answer of someone in your field! – user105041 Mar 1 at 16:45
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You should probably include the acknowledgements in the original article so as to get a little feedback on that from the journal in case you overdo it.

The most important thing is to thank anyone or any organization that contributed directly to your work. That might include your university. I wouldn't, personally, have any objection to general thanks to your professors, but a journal might.

It isn't really necessary to inform people that you will ack them but you might want to send a copy of your submission (or the final version) to them with your personal thanks. I think that specifically thanking a superstar is a good thing, actually, and may someday come back to your benefit. It can strengthen your circle of contacts in any case. So, not necessary, but fine to do.

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    academia.stackexchange.com/questions/63033/… – user105041 Mar 1 at 17:39
  • The comments to the question suggest that there are journals requiring consent of acknowledged people. – user105041 Mar 1 at 17:39
  • @holla If the journal does not specifically require consent (it is a smaller journal where most of the contributors are just beginning their careers in academia) should I not notify them until after as Buffy suggests? – Kevin Miller Mar 1 at 18:29
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  1. Include it in the submitted draft.

  2. I have included people who made supporting technical discussions (when I was working out of a field). I never got any writing help because I like to control the text. But if there was substantial writing help, I would definitely thank the people. Perhaps in time, this will be overdone, but in general I find very few papers with these types of personal acknowledgements so I don't think editors need to prune much, yet.

  3. Yes. Just tell them you plan to acknowledge. I would not bother sending a preprint unless they request it. 99% of the time, they will just say "thanks". You do have a responsibility here to not surprise them, though.

  4. Probably not, but it depends on the details. Sounds like you weren't funded by them or using their equipment. But if in doubt (e.g. some funding, some equipment use), better to acknowledge them.

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I think JAMA sets out some really nice guidelines of who, when and how to acknowledge people:

All other persons who have made substantial contributions to the work reported in the manuscript (eg, data collection, analysis, and writing or editing assistance) but who do not fulfill the authorship criteria should be named with their specific contributions in an Acknowledgment in the manuscript.

Authors must obtain written permission to include the names of all individuals included in the Acknowledgment section, and the corresponding author must confirm that such permission has been obtained in the Authorship Form.

I personally like the idea that people being acknowledged need to be contacted as it gives them the chance to make a case for authorship. It also prevents attaching someone's name to something that they do not agree with.

If the journal uses double-blind reviewing, I would omit the names from the acknowledgement section during the review process, but leave the content intact. Otherwise, just leave it in there.

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