I (scientist) desperately need a one click Reprint Request widget!

Just like other scientists, I guess, who are sending thousands of email reprint requests to other colleagues when the pdf of the paper is not available online. Last week, when the whole stem cell world was focusing on the 2 papers claiming the successful reprogramming of adult differentiated human skin cells into a pluripotent, embryonic stem (ES) cell-like state by transduction of four defined (actually 2 different sets of genes) transcription factors, I was unable to download the Science Express paper from my lab. So I sent my sample reprint request mail n times to the first author just like a robot. The only personal thing in the email was my human error of not replacing the subject title with the proper one (yes the life extension paper was n-1 times)


Ok, here is the sample I am using and I’d like to say a big thanks to Valdemar Maximo for sending to me his reprint request thereby sharing the compelling form (feel free to copy/paste dear colleagues of mine, let us free ourselves from the burden of writing individual emails when the only point is getting a pdf back (discussing a paper privately is other thing)):

Dear Doctor…..

I would greatly appreciate to obtain one reprint/copy (Electronic
version) of your article entitled:

Article title: ……

With many thanks beforehand.

…..Desperate scientist in an administrative mode

Writing reprint requests is dead boring and especially for those who are working in labs with poor subscription rates (a lot of requests) and/or are not native speakers (a lot of errors) enjoying linguistic high politeness. Anyway the problem is strictly not restricted to the former 2 particular groups of scientists as many requests are sent by scientists working from home without the comfort of their institutional subscriptions (I am not talking about big PIs, who can have universal access to almost every science journal with a magic login/password combination). Science is a 24 hour job (and harder than blogging but with a bigger reward).

What do I have in mind? A simple life hack beyond the scope of LifeHacker. A “one button article request app” installed under a mail service or a social networking site or any other web service that can be used by a scientist.

It should be synchronized with PubMed or other big databases that can actually find the PDF (just like Papers) and send it to you based on your search before sending the request email to the author if otherwise the paper is not available. (Disadvantage: fewer personal requests reduce the vanity of authors and also the number of light contacts)

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