Don't write mass emails (1): distributing your work

Explains ineffective and effective ways to promote your published work


Ok, so you have heard that it is a good idea to publicise your articles after publication, so that more academics might read and cite them. Given that you already have many people in your email address book, why not just send a mass email to all of them telling them you have published a new paper?

Your colleagues do not appreciate "research spam"

Why not? Because that is spamming and recipients are not likely to appreciate it. In fact, they are quite likely to be annoyed by it, so it is unlikely to reach your objective. I seem to have ended up on the mailing list of one or two academics in Bibliometrics and get an email listing their new papers every month (yes people often publish that frequently in this field). Not only do I always delete those emails, I have now almost resolved never to cite those academics if I can avoid it.

Be selective in who you send your papers

By all means send someone your published paper if you honestly think they would appreciate reading it, or at least being aware of it. But think carefully: how would you feel if you received the email in question. Would you appreciate it or would you be annoyed? Would you read the email or delete it without reading? For me that would all depend on the level of care the sender had put into the email.

Any mass emails just listing new papers get deleted instantly. Mass emails that send me the paper because it has cited my own work might get a cursory glance. However, as I have citation alerts in Google Scholar, Scopus, and ISI, usually these emails still get deleted. What does get read is a personal email that outlines why the sender thinks their paper is of interest to you. Does it build on your work, did the sender ever talk to you about the paper, do you know the sender from previous email exchanges or conferences?

An effective communication: example 1

Here is what I think was a particularly good example: personal, courteous, interesting, and introducing something I hadn’t heard about before: a doodle research illustration. The picture was useful too as I had not met this student for 8 years.

I don’t know if you remember me, but I met you at Victoria University (NZ) when you came to speak many years ago. At the time I was a PhD student researching multilingualism and the role of English in banks in Luxembourg.

Now, I’m delighted to share with you what I have just published on YouTube. It’s a short 20 minute illustration (doodle) on some aspects of my PhD. It’s a video that could be used as a teaching resource. I’ve attached a free e-print from the 2013 journal article that goes with. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did in producing it!

Best wishes,
Leilarna Kingsley, [Picture included]

An effective communication: example 2

And here is another great one by CYGNA member Olga Ryazanova: personal, courteous and clearly explaining why I might be interested in the paper.

Just a short note to say thank you for your contribution to the conversation [AWH: Note the crucial word conversation, see my blog on this] on the socialization of doctoral students in business schools (in your paper with Nancy Adler in AMLE). We built upon it in our paper that has just been accepted by the AMLE.

While our paper is not as critical of the current state of things as your paper, my co-author and I hope it will add some value to the practice of socializing doctoral students into research profession. I enclosed the copy to this email in case you want to share it with early-career researchers in the CYGNA network.

Kind regards, Dr. Olga Ryazanova

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