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?

  • 1
    You can call Dear Sir/Madam. Do not overestimate this issue of calling. Just explain your motive clearer and in simple manner. – vivek Jun 28 '16 at 16:13
  • Thank you,I went for "Dear Mr..." and focused more on the message itself – the structure Jul 19 '16 at 16:04
  • Okk. All the best – vivek Jul 20 '16 at 4:33

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.

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    I ended up following your suggestion. Everything fine. – the structure Jul 19 '16 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 Jul 1 '16 at 13:36
  • Thank you, unfortunately he was not a Ph.D. in this case. – the structure Jul 19 '16 at 15:59
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    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 Sep 9 '16 at 14:54
  • @pbond Yes, that's fair if your easily-findable web profile lists your qualifications or refers to you as "Mr". Many don't, especially outside academia. For instance, one of these two gentlemen has a PhD, the other doesn't. Can you tell which is which? (1) icewarm.com.au/australian-water-school/presenters/geoff-podger (2) icewarm.com.au/australian-water-school/presenters/gary-jones – Significance Sep 11 '16 at 5:32
  • @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 Sep 12 '16 at 12:03

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