In scientific research it is mandatory that your current work is based on previous results obtained by other scientists. Publishing is the way to communicate these results. Scientists pass on their ideas, obtained proofs, critical notes in their publications. By including used literature in your article you indicate the foundation of your current work.
Whenever you use information obtained in other sources you should always refer to the original source. It applies to any kind of information: facts, scientific results, scientific methods, data sets, images, tables, graphs etc. Proper reference should be made if you criticize the work or ideas of others. Proper reference should also be made if sources are not officially published but only presented at a conference or as internal reports. Reference to a particular source must be provided in all places within one article where you use the source.
References can be done in several manners. The list of references can appear as footnotes at the bottom of each page, at the end of a section, or at the end of a publication. Publishers often request that publications are submitted in a required format.
It is important that the information on the sources is complete and correct. The titles of journals should be complete. If you would like to use abbreviations use standardized lists. A recommended standardized list is the one used by MathSciNet.
Follow these links to some citation guides:
- Citation Style Guides (provided by the University of Alberta)
- Style Guides and Resources on the Internet
Regardless of format, authors using and citing Internet sources should observe the following guidelines:
- At a minimum, a reference of an Internet source should provide a document title or description, a date (either the date of publication or update or the date of retrieval), and an address (in Internet terms, a uniform resource locator, or URL). Whenever possible, identify the authors of a document as well.
- Direct readers as closely as possible to the information being cited; whenever possible, reference specific documents rather than home pages.
- Provide addresses that work. Beware of long URLs. Do not add a hyphen when such a URL is broken across lines.
- When available include a DOI [Digital Object Identifier]. DOIs are assigned to any entity for use on digital networks. These are permanent unique identifiers which can help identify and locate a cited source. Information about a digital object may change over time, including where to find it, but its DOI name will not change. Many publishers provide DOIs to their articles. They are often mentioned on the abstract page.
Typical DOI examples:
Other publishers provide different systems which also guarantee permanent linking, e.g
If the Internet source is also published in print, e.g. in case of journal articles, provide also the complete information of the journal title, volume, issue and pages.
Before the paper is finally submitted test your Internet references to check whether links are still working. If the cited sources are no longer accessible perhaps you should consider dropping those references.
Several things to be aware of:
- You give full credit to other authors.
- It is to prove your credibility that used results are based on reliable sources.
- You show the relation of your work with other works.
- By using other sources you have given proof that you have gained in-depth knowledge on the subject.
- Your results can be verified by others.
- You provide further sources for others.
- You cannot be accused of plagiarism.
- Never invent your own abbreviations.
- Never copy references from other articles without verifying the bibliographical information. It is surprising how often a particular mistake would persist through generations of articles.
- Be aware of the existence of (cover-to-cover) translation journals, e.g. English translations from Russian journals. References to the original edition should not be copied indiscriminately to the translation edition: the page numbering is nearly always different. Even the volume or issue numbering may differ.
- If you cite an article written in another language than your article, you should mention the original title or provide an indication of the original language, e.g. [in Russian], [in German].
- Provide references to all terms, information and ideas which are new to you and which you learned during the course of your research work.
- When in doubt provide a proper reference.