I read that some academics would avoid accepting students (undergraduate or graduate) or other researchers requests on Linkedin. So what are the cases that could be acceptable for academics to add people on Linkedin and avoid any embarrassments?

  • After completing their course?
  • After working on a joint research?
  • After attending a workshop, seminar, talk?
  • After meeting them at a conference?
  • After sending them an email about mutual work, papers, etc.?
  • Can you indicate any downsides to connecting with everyone?
    – Compass
    Commented Mar 13, 2015 at 14:42
  • There are downsides also with not connecting with everyone.
    – Thomas Lee
    Commented Mar 13, 2015 at 14:47
  • Possible duplicate of academia.stackexchange.com/questions/1539/…
    – StrongBad
    Commented Mar 13, 2015 at 14:52
  • @ThomasLee that is fine, but giving us concrete benefits/negatives will allow us to discuss them and make this question easier to answer.
    – Compass
    Commented Mar 13, 2015 at 14:53
  • @StrongBad I think they are different. The old question is talking about students only while this question is more general. In the old question, the question was "Is it ok to" while this is "How to"?
    – Thomas Lee
    Commented Mar 13, 2015 at 15:06

2 Answers 2


I consider LinkedIn to be pretty low-stakes interaction, so I merely want to avoid being linked to spammers and frauds. My own policy, then, is that I will accept LinkedIn invitations from anybody who I actually know who they are, either by a) having had a non-trivial interaction with them (including by phone or electronically) or b) indirect interactions such as reading their papers.

Other people may have more stringent policies, but in my opinion, it's reasonable to request a connection with anybody you have a relationship with: the worst that will happen is that they will ignore it.

  • 2
    This comports with what I do, though I also never initiate a social networking connection request to a subordinate (LinkedIn Google+, Facebook, etc.).
    – Bill Barth
    Commented Mar 13, 2015 at 16:14
  • 1
    Ignoring it is not quite the worst that could happen. If the recipient isn't interested in a connection, or doesn't use LinkedIn, they might find it slightly annoying. Commented Mar 13, 2015 at 17:06

Each person has their own policy for who they accept as LinkedIn connections. If your priority is to avoid embarrassment, the safest practice is for you to establish a personal, mutual relationship before you issue a LinkedIn request. The best way to establish a personal relationship is to do so in person, through meaningful conversation about mutual interests. If you can't do it in person, then you might start the relationship on-line through email, but you should be conscientious to be sure that the communication is mutual. If you are in doubt about what this means, read the book How to Win Friends and Influence People.

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