Short and simple question. Am I allowed to not include my email at a publication?

On a related note, what should I do if I don't have an e-mail address, or have an e-mail address at my university which will expire when I leave the university?

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    Get a gmail or yahoo or whatever free address you can and use that. – Bill Barth Jul 8 '15 at 23:52
  • Should you? Of course. Is it necessary? Only the guide for authors of the journal can answer that. – Mark Jul 9 '15 at 2:50
  • Are you the only author of the paper, or are you asking whether it is ok for some of the authors not to provide an e-mail address? – O. R. Mapper Jul 9 '15 at 5:59
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    I wonder if I'm the only one who always googles for an author's homepage and copies the mail address from there when asking a question. Only very seldomly, researchers write gmail addresses on papers (as it looks unprofessional to some people), and other addresses can expire. Also, Alumni addresses are often not given to everyone (e.g., postdocs). For postdocs, professional e-mail addresses are almost guaranteed to have expired after max .two years. I know of a case where at the time of publishing the paper, the mail address already expired and the server would just silently eat the mail. – DCTLib Jul 9 '15 at 8:01
  • @O.R.Mapper I ask whether it's ok not to include an e-mail address(no matter if you are the only author or co-author). As I said, if I make a publication as a graduate student my academic address, in my uni, will expire after a year so nobody will be able to contact me. Also I think getting a gmail or a free address looks completely unprofessional. – Rrjrjtlokrthjji Jul 9 '15 at 14:17

You should put your email on your paper. Not doing so means people who want to contact you can't, and it's obnoxious, non-collegial, and extremely unusual in science.

As for what address to use, I see two main paths: "permanent" and "traceable":

For the "permanent" path: many universities have a permanent alumni email address, which you can set up while still there and which is an excellent choice for long-term usage. If you don't have access to such, you can get a free address (Gmail is a good "professional" choice, but others can be as well; don't use AOL, Hotmail, or others with a poor reputation). The advantage of this approach is that your address need never change; the disadvantage is that you may not be using an email associated with your primary affiliation.

For the "traceable" path: it is worth recognizing that even when you have a "permanent" position, such as a tenured faculty post, that it may not be permanent. People relocate away from long-term jobs for all sorts of reasons, and an email address thought to be forever is not. Everybody who wants to contact you will understand this. Thus, rather than use Gmail, you might instead just make sure you always maintain an easily identifiable web presence that includes information about your former affiliations and papers. Thus, when somebody searches for you, they can easily link you and your paper, even if your email has changed.

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    'Gmail is a good "professional" choice, but others can be as well; don't use AOL, Hotmail, or others with a poor reputation' - YMMV, I don't see much of a difference in "reputation" between the various free e-mail services such as Hotmail, GMail, or Yahoo, despite GMail currently arguably being more "fashionable" to have. – O. R. Mapper Jul 9 '15 at 5:46
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    In my circles, using a Gmail address in a professional context if the definition of dubious. – xLeitix Jul 9 '15 at 6:21
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    I strongly disagree. An out-of-date email address is obnoxious, since people waste their time trying to send mail to it. If I'm lucky, they'll get a bounce; if I'm unlucky, they won't and they'll think that I'm the obnoxious one for not replying. In contrast, if there's no email address on a paper, people can easily search for an address and will most likely get the current one. In particular, early-career researchers are likely to have their email address change every couple of years and many universities refuse to forward mail for former staff/students. – David Richerby Jul 9 '15 at 13:50
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    @Szabolcs Gmail is permanent? How do you know? Do you have a contract with Google that says they will continue to provide you with some service for X amount of time? Or are you just assuming that Google is huge so will last for ever? You mean like CompuServe and Alta Vista and Geocities? – David Richerby Jul 9 '15 at 14:51
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    @Szabolcs Even more likely is Google changing their terms and conditions in a way that you find unacceptable, causing you to close your account. – David Richerby Jul 9 '15 at 15:14

Whether you can choose not to include your email address in your paper depends on the journal. Some journals make it mandatory for the authors to include their e-mail addresses, while others do not mention anything about email addresses in their guidelines. Read the journal guidelines carefully; you can choose to not include your email address if the journal does not have any problem with it.

Having said that, I would say that you should provide some other detail that will allow readers to contact you. This is required for two reasons: first, to establish your credibility, and second, to be available to readers if they wish to contact you for some clarification. I can understand your concern that the university email is not permanent. However, you can definitely use a personal email address (although an institutional email looks more professional), or provide the link to your website or any other webpage that will provide your updated contact information.

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    I was hoping that the credibility of my work came from its quality, rather from what comes after the at-sign in my email address... – David Richerby Jul 9 '15 at 13:51
  • The credibility of course does come from the quality of your work, but as an author, giving your contact details indicates that you are taking complete responsibility for your work and are willing to help in case people have any questions about it or issues with it. – Kakoli Majumder Jul 10 '15 at 6:49
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    "giving your contact details indicates that you are taking complete responsibility for your work" I always thought that writing my name at the top of the paper indicated that. Who else could possibly be responsible for it? Was nobody responsible for their work before email came along? – David Richerby Jul 10 '15 at 14:01
  • Even before the email was popular, authors did provide contact details I think, and people could contact them by post if required. You can provide some other contact detail, if not your email, but I would think it a part of my responsibility as an author to be available to answer any questions or doubts that come up with regard to my work. – Kakoli Majumder Jul 12 '15 at 14:37
  • Yes, I've never seen an academic paper that didn't list the authors' affiliations. – David Richerby Jul 12 '15 at 15:34

If you are the only author, providing an e-mail address (or at least another form of contacting you) is highly adviseable, as explained by several of the other answers.

If you are not the only author, and some of the other authors can provide a more permanent e-mail address, then it depends on the conference or journal whether you can skip providing your e-mail address. If the conference or journal allows so, you do not need to provide an e-mail address, as the other authors already provide some contact information that is probably more reliable/durable than your own address. Otherwise, in the worst case, future readers might, of all of the indicated addresses, pick yours, with either of the following results:

  • If you manage to convince someone to prolong it, for one reason or another you might not check it any longer (e.g. no convenient forwarding feature) and the reader will not get a quick response.
  • If your address is deleted, the reader will get back an error message (which, IMHO, is worse than implicitly having them write to a more reliable address in the first place by not listing an address that is known to expire soon) or, even worse, no indication that something was wrong, even though no-one will ever receive the e-mail.
  • If you set up an extra address specifically for the papers, once again you might end up not checking it (unless it actually is your personal address, and at least I personally can very well understand if you would not want to divulge that in any publicly accessible place like a paper, same as you possibly wouldn't publish your home address).
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The main reason I don't like putting my email address on the paper is because my inbox becomes rapidly flooded with requests to become a reviewer for some vanity press or international journal or an endless list of requests to publish in journals that are not PubMed indexed or charge money to submit.

What's more, I would prefer not to put my institution on their either, particularly if the work was not supported by my institution or reflects controversial views not sponsored by my employer. I haven't found a way around that, though.

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