I plan to perform a meta-analysis for which I will need to contact some authors (not professors) because their articles do not mention the outcomes relevant to my study, although they most probably have measured them.

I am very new to this field and I would like to know which way of contacting them I should privilege, to ensure the best chances that they will share the relevant data with me. Is a simple, polite message sent by mail enough or are there other tips that would help me achieve this goal? Are there namely other ways than an email?

I am not asking for general advice about how to address an academic. Rather, I'd like to know if there are some specific tips that could be useful in the particular situation when you want to get data from an author. For example, if the author has a Researchgate account, is it better (in terms of answer chances) to use RG messaging system, or to send a mail ?

  • Write very clearly, make it as easy as possible for them to deal with, and maybe give them a date by which you need the information (something like 4 weeks in the future)
    – toby544
    Commented Jan 3, 2022 at 13:21
  • 4
    @toby544, that looks a lot like an answer.
    – Buffy
    Commented Jan 3, 2022 at 13:32
  • 1
    And undertake to acknowledge them appropriately in your work.
    – Anton
    Commented Jan 9, 2022 at 23:54

1 Answer 1


To contact a researcher you should use their public facing address. Check on their university or research institute web site and see what method they have listed to contact them. This is the method they have advertised so it's probably the best method, especially for a first attempt.

After that, use good "business communication." Polite but not cloyingly so. Provide a brief explanation of what you want, that you are requesting data, who you are, and what you plan to do with the information. Include specifics as you can. Don't "bury the lead" meaning don't force them to read through a lot of text to find the purpose of your email.

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