What happens to manuscripts needing revision while the corresponding author is between academic jobs?

Not every academic will always find a new position seamlessly after the previous one. For example, PhD students may still have papers in the pipeline after finishing their PhD, before finding a post-doc. What do academics do when a manuscript needs revision under such conditions? Note that I'm exclusively thinking of people who do aim to remain in academia; if people leave academia, the situation is different in any case.

Some alternatives I can think of:

  • Wait until one has a new position. This implies a considerable delay, possibly meaning resubmitting a manuscript needed only minor revisions.

  • Make another co-author corresponding author.

  • Finish it in their own time. This might have practical issues; for example, they will have no affiliation and might not even have an academic e-mail address (depending on how quickly the previous institution removes accounts).

There may be other alternatives that I'm not thinking of.

What are peoples' experiences about this?

  • 2
    I don't get the problem here. One can use one's personal e-mail. Also, the affiliation need to be related to place in which work was done, so there is nothing to be changed. So, why do you think that someone should proceed differently in such case? Nov 8, 2012 at 14:47
  • Hi gerrit, you may want to accept an answer to this question, or add a comment related to why the existing answers aren't satisfactory…
    – F'x
    Nov 22, 2012 at 12:47

2 Answers 2


Finish it in their own time (that is, if they want to) The only downsides you mention are of a practical nature. I'll explain below why they are not actually relevant.

You don't need an academic affiliation in order to publish in journals. But, I believe you might have a misconception of the affiliations listed on paper: affiliations listed are institutions that provided resources for the job. In particular, while your current employer should in most cases be listed as an affiliation, it doesn't mean that stops when you leave. If part of the work was performed with their resources, they should be listed as an affiliation. In particular, if your performed at least part of the work under their employment, you should list them.

As a special case: if an author (not just the corresponding author, but any author) has a new employer, but the work was entirely done without their resources, it is not an affiliation but they can usually be mentioned as a footnote with the text “Current address”.

  • 1
    I have done this exact thing recently. I have a separate log-in and identification with the publisher that is independent of my previous institutional affiliation. I edited the manuscript on my home computer. I was fortunate that the graduate student who took over my project who was willing to do the additional experiments suggested.
    – Ben Norris
    Nov 9, 2012 at 12:22

I have been in the situation where my past work has been published while I have been between academic research jobs. Here is my view on your list of alternative actions.

Waiting for a new position.

No. Publish as soon as possible. What happens if another researcher, a competitor, scoops the findings? While the work may be relevant still, one has lost the intellectual primacy. Another publication to the author's name can only help in his/her job search.

Make another co-author corresponding author.

This seems to tied up with your third point, where you consider not having an academic email address to be an impediment to publishing.

When between academic research posts, I use as my affiliation the institution where I carried out the majority of the work - the "invention" if you like. I have been in the situation where work that I started was completed and published following my departure - both with me contributing to the completion of the work and also where I did not add anything. In both cases I listed the former institution as my affiliation. I also gave my gmail address for contact purposes.

I have also been a co-author on papers as a member of a large research collaboration, again during a period where I am not in an academic research post. In this case, I affiliate myself with the institution through which I derive my affiliation with the research collaboration. I also have my gmail address as part of my contact details.

If the journal won't accept a non-academic (e)mail address one could make the argument that the research is still to be accepted for review and eventual publication regardless of the present contact details of the author. The majority of the work presumably was carried out in a recognised research institution and therefore should be treated with the appropriate respect.

  • 4
    one can have more than one affiliation… all institutions that contributed resources (including salaries, office space, CPU, etc.) should be listed as affiliations
    – F'x
    Nov 8, 2012 at 10:17
  • @F'x: Agreed, good comment.
    – Nicholas
    Nov 8, 2012 at 12:01
  • 4
    If the journal won't accept a non-academic (e)mail address ...publish somewhere else.
    – JeffE
    Nov 8, 2012 at 21:18

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