Posted on January 20, 2009
Liliane Windsor (bio) talks about ways to connect with mentors and journal editors.
In terms of building good relationships, you have to be careful because you have to be mindful of people's times, and academics and researchers tend to be very busy people. So you don't want to be harassing them and contacting them so much that you end up creating some distress there. So you have to be mindful.
I tend to prefer email, so what I do, especially when, and there is a big difference when you are looking for a mentor or when you're just developing your relationship with an editor in a journal.
In terms of the editor, what I will usually do is to prepare an abstract, a very, very short, short, clear piece, and send them an email and say, "I was thinking about submitting this to your journal. Do you think that this may be a good fit? Should I go ahead and submit the full manuscript?" Sometimes they will respond, sometimes they will not respond. If they don't respond, and I don't pursue it further. I just assume, "Okay, they are busy. That's not really appropriate."
But the majority of the time, they have been able to respond to me, and when they say, "No, this might not be a good fit to my journal," they often will suggest another place that might be a better fit. And when they say, "Go ahead and submit," I prepare the manuscript. Then they already know that I'm going to be sending something on that particular topic, and I started a relationship that way.
In terms of mentorship, then that might be a different story. I think that perhaps a phone call might be more appropriate because you're going to be talking about collaborations and so forth, so usually I email first. I put my interest in developing a relationship, and I request a time that might be appropriate for them to have a phone meeting with me and then go from there.
Excerpted from interview with researcher at the 2008 National Hispanic Science Network on Drug Abuse Conference in Bethesda, MD.
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