I would like to send an email to a paper author, but I'm not sure how to address them.

The author is not a professor, their google+ profile says "Network Engineer" (in an important network company BBTW). As far as I know has a degree and has several publications like articles, conference papers, RFC's.

I'm a Master degree student.

What form of address should I use?


2 Answers 2


Default to "Dear Mr. [last name]" (assuming you're sure the person is male). If you're not sure the person is male, use "Dear [first name] [last name]". Don't worry about other titles unless the person specifically uses "PEng." or other professional association designation after their name, in which case include that.

  • 1
    I ended up following your suggestion. Everything fine. Commented Jul 19, 2016 at 15:58

I strongly recommend "Dear Dr. [Lastname]". Most people who publish scholarly papers do have doctorates (or are in the process of getting them). Those who don't have doctorates are unlikely to be offended by the upgraded title. Those who do have doctorates may be offended by a downgrade.

  • I personally don't think that anyone that don't use any of my titles is downgrading me but this may be culture dependent.
    – llrs
    Commented Jul 1, 2016 at 13:36
  • Thank you, unfortunately he was not a Ph.D. in this case. Commented Jul 19, 2016 at 15:59
  • 9
    Personally I have somewhat of an issue with 'Those who don't have doctorates are unlikely to be offended by the upgraded title'. I often receive e-mails with 'Dear Dr. Bond' because of my published work, but I do not have a doctorate. Whenever I receive such an e-mail I always feel like 'Hey, you didn't even took two seconds to look-up who I am'.
    – pbond
    Commented Sep 9, 2016 at 14:54
  • 1
    @Significance Geoff Podger (likely) doesn't have a PhD and Gary Jones does. I found their both their LinkedIn profiles within a few seconds. I do agree that in some cases it can be hard to find out whether or not someone has a PhD, but in my case it's fairly easy (I have both a LinkedIn as well as a ResearchGate profile with my papers on it, and both show a MSc, not a PhD).
    – pbond
    Commented Sep 12, 2016 at 12:03
  • 1
    If I get an email with a title I don't have, for example starting with Prof. while I clearly am not, this definitely adds to my "this is likely a scam/spam email"-sense.
    – user53923
    Commented Feb 15, 2022 at 15:42

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