As an academic, one has to publish. Often, an article is drafted, and you need feedback of a colleague. I see that quite often some perspective articles are often written by long-term collaborating pairs of authors.

What are some strategies people use to get feedback on their articles (outside of immediate boss; and in the case that none of the friends in the field of work in the specific domain of the article, and one needs specific (not general) feedback)?

How do you approach a colleague to simply read your article. Or do you just mention it at a conference to the most suitable colleague - would you like to read an article and give me feedback? How do handle the co-authorship or acknowledgement? Do you establish the limits at the "approach time"?

What are some strategies to establish a "publishing" duos (buddies).


4 Answers 4


When I have a manuscript nearly ready to submit, I send it (by e-mail) to colleagues who I think would be interested in it. I politely ask them to read it and send me any comments they have. Sometimes they do, and sometimes they don't; it's understood that there is not an obligation. Of course, some of them send me their manuscripts too, and they're more likely to read mine if I have read and commented on theirs.

The colleagues I send the paper to (usually about 2-4 in number) may include:

  • Senior people who have mentored me
  • Past coauthors and collaborators
  • People I don't know but whose work is essential to that in my manuscript

People in the first two categories are usually willing to assist based on our existing relationship; those in the last category are generally pleased to see their work being cited and built on.

I don't usually need very specific feedback at this point in the process. If I was concerned, say, about the correctness of some part of the work, I would have worried about that long before I wrote the article. Occasionally I may have a specific question about, e.g., suitability of the manuscript for a particular journal. In that case, I would send the article to one of the editors of the journal or to a colleague who often publishes in that journal, and ask specifically.

Any colleagues who provide substantial feedback will be acknowledged at the end of the paper. Providing this kind of feedback certainly wouldn't qualify one for co-authorship.


Apart from the excellent answer by David, I guess that any (experienced) academic knows that this job has a long memory and it's a non-zero-sum game, so the more you give to others the better you are perceived. So my answer would include also a pro-active behaviour in reviewing papers for others too. This way you'll learn more about writing styles, will be perceived as a contributor to someone else's research, and will be more likely to receive feedback from others


Internet is there for us to help and collaborate. Banyan recently launched a public beta version. It is for "sharing, collaborating & publishing research".

Personally I think this product, or a similar product that applies open source idea (which is working pretty good for software development) into research, can both help with getting feedback of an ongoing work and establishing a long-term co-authorship as well.

  • Well they seem to have shut down, so this is probably not meant to work in the contemporary scientific culture.....
    – matt
    Aug 9, 2015 at 19:58

Unfortunately, an academic researcher either exists in the echo chamber of his lab (specialists in their field), or among competitors, or among the lay public. None of these are ideal arenas to form "publishing" duos (buddies). One would always want the upper hand or to be placed in a more prominent spot in the author list. In this way, research is often observed to be siloed or split off into various factions. The academic publishing machine pairs you up with 3 often anonymous people you have little influence in choosing to critically review your manuscript but of course negative feedback that is not interactive nor a discussion but a letter in response to your letter as it existed so many years ago. If rejected, you can use the reviews to improve your paper, but of course you have burned the bridge of being able to submit that topic to that particular journal again. The concept of a publishing buddy would exist in the balance of a knowledgeable field specialist and generalist.

  • "an academic researcher either exists in the echo chamber of his lab (specialists in heir field), or among competitors, or among the lay public" - this is incorrect; academic researchers, at least in some discplines, will form part of a community that reaches outside their department or lab, quite possibly outside their country
    – Yemon Choi
    Jan 23, 2020 at 1:55

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