I am currently writing a piece of work, mainly studying some theory developed in a particular article. I did my best to be clear whether it was one of my own comment concerning the subject or material, eventually rephrased, coming from the article.

But now, I need to copy a large section from the article. There is no point in modifying the section, it is actually a list of hypothesis written in a mathematical fashion, and rephrasing it would be unclear. So well, maybe I changed a bit the formulation of a few things, or changed the order of the list to fit the way I present the things, but really cosmetic changes.

How should I cite that ? I guess (as it is not exactly copy/paste) no "", but then what ? I already mentioned that the whole work was closely related to the article, but I feel uncomfortable copying the section without knowing how to reference it.

2 Answers 2


You likely will need to check the copyright requirements of the journal, and contact the publisher and/or author. Very often, quoting or copying more than a few sentences or one or two figures will require direct permission.

Permission may not be necessary, but you don't want to open a big bag of trouble by publishing something that violates copyright - better safe than sorry.

  • Good idea. I checked the copyright requirements for this article, and I am allowed to copy part of the article, provided that it is clearly referenced. Thanks !
    – AnSy
    Commented Sep 15, 2013 at 9:43

Copying is of course not good. But, it is always possible to use a quote. This can be done by either use quotes or in your case to state that you are providing a copy of the list provided by the author.. In your case I think you can easily say something like "Following "cited author" (yyyy) we can define the problem as ..." and then follow up by rewriting the list you mention. It should then be very clear that what you write follows what the cited author has written. The exact phrasing might be slightly different but along the lines I outlined.


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