I have stumbled upon a paper that is very related to my field of research and after reading and discussing it with my supervisor, I found some issues in the paper that I need more information about, such as the data set they used.

When I sent them an email (their emails are university email accounts) I received a failure notice telling me that these emails have been discontinued.

What is the protocol that I should follow to pass my inquires to them?

I have found one of the author's LinkedIn account, from it I know his current working place, can I contact the company asking them for his contact information? And I have already sent him a connection request containing a brief message of my intentions.

  • Contact the university they were at, and ask if they have forwarding information. – Faheem Mitha Dec 7 '13 at 22:32
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    @FaheemMitha Should I contact the authors department or is there a specific email address or office that usually deals with this kind of inquires? – The Hiary Dec 8 '13 at 4:47
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    I would call the authors department to start with, and see if they have any information. – Faheem Mitha Dec 8 '13 at 5:53
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    I assume you've already tried Google. Right? – JeffE Dec 8 '13 at 22:05
  • @JeffE Yes, I did. – The Hiary Dec 9 '13 at 2:45

There's no particular "protocol"; just try to find some other way to contact them.

I would try:

  • Google the author's names.

  • Look for more recent publications by the same author(s); see if they list updated email addresses.

  • LinkedIn was a good idea.

  • If you have found the author's employer, see if you can find his contact info on their website; or contact someone else at the company and ask.

  • Some professional societies maintain a database with contact information for all members. For instance, mathematics has the Combined Membership List.

  • Contact someone at the previous employer and ask if they have current contact info.


I would like to add one point of note to the other answer:

Do check if the first author is still in academia.

It is quite possible that the first author wrote the paper as a PhD student, and has since left academia. Quite probably, if he/she has left academia, he/she will not have time or want to make time to address the issue. When this is the case, probably their supervisor is also on the paper, and might still be in academia. In this case, contact the supervisor or another co-author.

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    Yes, the paper is based on a masters thesis and the first author is working in a research corporation now. The third author is his supervising professor, and I have sent him an email but I didn't get any reply yet! – The Hiary Dec 8 '13 at 16:44
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    You should be aware that (in my experience) faculty members are less likely to respond to emails from unknown graduate students or postdocs. If the email you have from the principal investigator on the paper appears to be current, and you don't get a response in a few days, try having your supervisor write. – AJK Dec 9 '13 at 4:47
  • @ AJK I have already informed my supervisor regarding this issue, thank you for your comment. – The Hiary Dec 9 '13 at 8:35

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