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(This is a junior researcher's question.)

Scientific publications contain a part discussing related work and the context of the paper. However, it is not clear where to put the section discussing related work of a paper.

Where does the section on related work belong in a scientific publication? Is there any universal standard, or is it arbitrary?

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I heavily edited the question, hopefully now it asks what it was meant to ask in the first place. Perhaps the downvoters could reconsider their vote. –  walkmanyi Feb 13 '13 at 8:47
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3 Answers

If you're writing a conference paper, put it in the same place as it appears in the conference papers you read. If you're not reading any conference papers, you're not ready to write one.

If you're writing a journal paper, put it in the same place as it appears in the journal papers you read. If you're not reading any journal papers, you're not ready to write one.

If you're writing a dissertation, put it in the same place as it appears in the dissertations you read. If you're not reading any dissertations, you're not ready to write one.

If you're writing a $PAPER_TYPE, put it in the same place as it appears in the $PAPER_TYPEs that you read. If you're not reading any $PAPER_TYPEs, you're not ready to write one.

Also: Ask your advisor.

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Generally, put it in the introduction. This partly motivates further study of the field, i.e., by showing that previous experts have worked on similar problems, and that such problems are well established.

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Like so many times, it depends on the field. The options in general are either at the beginning, after the intro; or at the end, before the conclusions. Look at previous issues of the journal/conf you are targeting.

Also, ask your advisor.

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