I'm sending a draft to my coauthor (senior and more experienced). I'm new to the world of coauthoring and was wondering what would be a good way to suggest that he has absolute liberty to change anything and I would not be offended by that. I feel awkward to say this directly, because it can imply an assumption on my part that he couldn't do that without me telling him.

  • Not to discourage posting writing questions here, but this question might have been a better fit at the Academia Stack Exchange.
    – user5232
    Commented Jun 2, 2014 at 1:55
  • Good point. Hadn't occurred to me.
    – ba_ul
    Commented Jun 2, 2014 at 3:26

1 Answer 1


Based on my 25+ years of academic co-authorship: Your co-author definitely won't feel free to change everything unless you tell him so directly. Don't feel awkward. Some people fall in love with their first draft and only want the co-author to "improve" it but not "change" it. If it's a really good first draft that's not so bad, as it will speed publication. But usually, the first draft needs changing, not just improving. And sometimes serious changing. So let your co-author know you're not one of those types. Your wording sounds good to me.

  • 1
    I'm totally new to academic writing, so it's great to learn from your experience. Thanks.
    – ba_ul
    Commented Jun 1, 2014 at 23:14
  • 1
    I totally agree with dmm here. Co-authorship is like a marriage: you need to talk about what you expect, or it will fail. And since what you expect of your partner is actually quite flattering (because you imply that he has experience that you lack and want to learn from him), I don't see how directly saying so could in any way impair your relationship. Just don't go so far as to debase yourself. Show that you are convinced that you have done something good, but are hoping to enhance it further. See writers.stackexchange.com/q/1284/5645 for ideas on word choice.
    – user5645
    Commented Jun 2, 2014 at 11:17

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