How do I find good co-authors?

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Here is a short list of ideas to help you find co-authors.

1) Be a good coauthor yourself; that means make sure you pull your weight. Pulling your weight means different things at different stages in your career. If you are a junior faculty member or a Ph.D. student you might "pull your weight" by providing significantly more hours of work in data collection or looking at past literature. Pulling your weight does not mean necessarily spending the same number of hours on a project, but instead providing the same level of help in creating the final paper.

2) Provide helpful comments to researchers who might have an interest in the topics you are interested in. You can do this in several ways. At workshops or conferences, make sure you thoroughly read the papers and comment in the workshop and give written comments after the workshop.

3) Share research ideas with potential co-authors and ask them if they are interested in talking about a project in that area. If you have an opportunity to talk with a potential coauthor, talk to them in general terms about potential ideas. You may not want to go into too many specifics until you find out if they are interested in working with you, but you may need to give some specifics before they are willing to commit. Don't be afraid to approach potential coauthors even if you don't know them very well. Most research-active faculty are interested in starting new projects if (a) the idea seems promising and is in an area of interest, (b) the other coauthors seem bright, motivated and hard working, and (c) they aren't too busy with other projects already.

4) Get your research published in a high quality journal--especially your dissertation. Success breeds success. If you can publish in a high quality journal, especially as a sole author, you will be known as someone who is a good potential coauthor.

5) Build relationships both with other students in your Ph.D. program and with your dissertation committee. Show them that you are willing to go the extra mile and pull your weight and then some.


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