In a given field, the initial breakthroughs were made by A in 1951. This was developed by B in 1960, further developed by C in 1965. I am, in 2018, using equations from C's 1965 paper. In that paper, C cites A and B as having developed the method.

My question is, should I:

(a) Cite only C,

(b) Cite A,B,C in that order (historical order of finding),

or (c) Cite C,B,A in that order (decreasing relevance to present work)?

Would the answer change if these papers were newer or if there was a greater number of them?

Edit: This pertains to the text of the body, not the reference list. The purpose is to use results from C, not to extend their work. The sentence would be something like:

'C [] tackled this problem by considering..., based on previous work by A[] and B[].

  • 1
    I think this depends on the context. If the goal of your work is to extend A/B/C, then it seems natural to introduce each of A, B and C (in that order). If you're just using a result from C for some other goal, then it might suffice to cite C and perhaps mention that it builds upon A & B, e.g., X introduced the following equation [C], which builds upon [A,B]: <equation>.
    – user2768
    Apr 11, 2018 at 8:36
  • Thanks! I'm just using their result, as mentioned in the edited question. Does the proposed sentence seem alright? Apr 11, 2018 at 8:53
  • 2
    Your proposition from the edit is perfectly fine.
    – user68958
    Apr 11, 2018 at 8:57

1 Answer 1


I think you should cite them in the order how they appear in your text and not the year which it was published.

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