Q: How do I seek the following kinds of help with my research writing: coauthorship and help with some parts of the research?

Detailed Question -

I have two related questions.

  1. How can one form an international coauthorship? I mean, how should I invite a scholar (say, from another country) to contribute to my research? In this case, of course, his/her name appears in the authors' names.
  2. What if I need a little help in some parts of my research, say, data analysis? How should I ask an expert for help? What should I say in the email? Should I include his/her name in the authors' names?
1 Answer to this question

Your first question is around coauthorship and your second around contribution. But both are around collaboration, which is the way most research is going these days. With newer fields emerging and research turning more interdisciplinary, collaboration is almost a prerequisite in research these days.

Coming to your queries, let’s take them one by one.

Forming an international coauthorship

Even here, there are two points or questions. Let’s take the second one first, as that often becomes an issue in collaboration or coauthorship.

It’s not clear exactly what you mean by ‘his/her name appears in the authors’ names.’ It seems you mean that their name will appear as a coauthor for the paper. If so, it will help to gain an understanding of the challenges around (co)authorship. For that, you may refer to this piece: Basics of authorship in academic publishing

There are several ways of forging a collaboration these days, thanks to the net and social media.

  • You may reach out to them via email – if you know their email address or if it’s available through either a personal website or an affiliation website.
  • You could go on a social-media platform such as Twitter (where most of academia seems to be present). Here, for instance, you could begin by following them, liking their tweets, and commenting on those tweets, with the result that eventually, they’ll do the same. You could then take it forward from there.
  • You could try joining an online group of researchers/academics/scholars, such as our own Researcher Voice (on Facebook). Here too, you could use the same means of liking posts, commenting on them, and later sending them a direct message (DM), or perhaps even sending a friend request (which they will hopefully accept).
  • In real life, you could of course directly approach people of interest/relevance at conferences.

The important thing is to build the connect gradually, though some people may prefer if you get to the point immediately. You will have to figure out individual preferences and proceed accordingly. :-)

Requiring some contribution

Again, there are two points here, and again, we’ll take the second one first, because that often becomes a tangle.

Based on the information you have provided, this input will not qualify as ‘authorship,’ but rather as ‘non-author contribution.’ This is as per the guidelines of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), an international body guiding ethics in scientific publishing. You may learn more about these guidelines here: Defining the Role of Authors and Contributors

Finally, for ways to reach out to potential contributors, you may employ some of the means suggested earlier (for seeking out collaborators). As you also asked about emails, you may find this resource useful: A practical handbook of templates for communicating [While these are more for journal communication, you could modify any of these to suit your purpose.]

Hope that helps. All the best for your various efforts and endeavors at collaboration!