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I'm trying to reference a book chapter (I have the title for this). But the book's title is not yet confirmed and neither is the order of the chapters, or the size of the book (meaning page numbers are not gonna be fixed to the A4 manuscript).

How would I go about citing this?

I have the chapter title, chapter author, publisher, location. That's it.

Any advice?

  • This is an interesting question (though I don't know the answer). I edited the title a bit to make it clearer - hopefully this is OK. Just to confirm, has the chapter itself been accepted, so that you know it will definitely appear? – Flyto Jan 14 at 14:54
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    Yes, the chapter and book have been confirmed by the editors and publisher! – Nick M Jan 15 at 18:28
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It may not be possible in all cases, but if you are preparing a manuscript for publication and there will be delays for review, you can give a tentative descriptive citation, rather than a formal one, marking the other work as "forthcoming". This will probably be fine for the purposes of review and you can correct the citation before final publication.

It might also be possible, in some cases, to contact the author(s) of the other work for their "best guess" as to these things and mark the citation using their words but as a "private communication, publication forthcoming". It is fairly common to mark some citations in new work as private communication, actually.

But it is possible that the work you want to cite won't, in fact, ever be published, so you need to be a bit tentative, both in the short term and possibly for final publication of your work.

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Cite what can for chapter details (at a minimum first author but hopefully title, publisher, chapter, editor, etc.) and say "in publication" or "in review" or "submitted" "in preparation" or even "unpublished". Whatever describes the situation.

This is not unusual situation. For instance I often see people cite journal articles with "in review". (I have self cited in this manner.) Obviously we don't know the issue number or page number yet.

Of course such citations may never make it into the peer reviewed literature so people may object if the work is highly dependent on a questionable result from unpublished work. But even on that, you may appease them by sharing a copy of the unpublished work. (Or may not, some reviewers/editors may balk at essentially reviewing two papers at once...others will feel like it is OK since they are just checking on a small doubt.) If the current paper is not heavily dependent on unpublished work (unpublished work cited to show parallel work or background or credit for a minor idea) than it is usually no big deal.

And of course some detail of name/author/journal may change in the future. But you are doing the best you can. Some cite may be better than no cite. I would further say that I frequently see a few cites like this in final papers and it is often no big deal (if the cite is just a nice to have cite).

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