A paper I have been working on for well over a year is finally reaching submission stage. At the beginning of the project, I have received detailed explanations from two professors about the mathematical derivation of an algorithm that they designed, and that I applied to my problem. Their help is acknowledged in the appropriate section of the paper, and the paper presenting the algorithm is cited in the bibliography. We never met in person and only interacted by e-mail as a result of my questions.

I am considering sending a new e-mail to thank them again and let them know about the acknowledgement. On the one hand, I am afraid they might think I am spamming to draw attention to my research. On the other hand, our field of research are distant enough that they may never read the acknowledgement, making it a little pointless.

Is it common to notify people you acknowledge in a research paper in this way?

  • 1
    Why not just thank them and share your paper, which they probably would be interested in because of its connection to their work, without mentioning acknowledgements explicitly? Caveat: academia.stackexchange.com/q/19604/68109
    – GoodDeeds
    Jun 27, 2021 at 14:25

1 Answer 1


If you associate someone by name with an idea in a paper (other than a citation), then it is actually necessary to get their agreement. So, yes, notify and thank them,

If they do think you are being spammy, then maybe you are, so think about that. I think that would be a rare thing, however.

Many journal editors will assume (or explicitly require) the agreement of everyone named, not just authors.

  • Thank you. Just to clarify, the explanations helped me follow the logic of their paper better, but in the text this only appears as "task X was performed with algorithm Y from Ref. [Z]", so I am confident the first "if" does not apply. I will keep the second in mind though.
    – Alexis
    Jun 27, 2021 at 16:55

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