A friend has made some nice slides that I could reuse (similar topics). He sent me the slides and commented that if I use them and could cite him that would be nice, I asked him how should I cite the slides but he said that whatever suits better to me he said "Just add my surname in some place where it's not very intrusive".

I'm not sure if he doesn't care or he doesn't want to be too picky, but I'd like to cite him, to each one his own.

AFAIK, they are related to a paper (but not in the paper) and to his thesis, where they could be as a diagram but definitively not animated. The slides (as such) may be available at some URL, he said they will be but they are not available yet (so I don't have the URL yet). If citing by the URL I guess I could use this: "How to cite a website URL?"

Should I cite slides? If yes, how?

  • 3
    How are you using the slides (e.g., in a talk or embedded in a manuscript)?
    – StrongBad
    Oct 10, 2013 at 13:10
  • @DanielE.Shub I'm using the slides as such, copy-paste the slides in a new slide set.
    – Trylks
    Oct 10, 2013 at 13:13

2 Answers 2


There are two practical purposes to scholarly citations:

  1. acknowledging scientific contribution of others, the borrowing of ideas (mainly) and content (sometimes, in the form of quotes)
  2. helping people find relevant content if they want to read it
  3. bookkeeping, for scientometric/bibliometric purposes

In your particular case, you cannot fulfill #2 and #3, because your friend's slides are not available for others to read, and even if they were, random documents on the internet are not really used for bibliometric purposes.

So, you want a solution that will achieve #1, i.e. make sure his contributions are recognized by people who will read your slides. To do so, you don't need to give your citation any specific format. I suggest you simply write, at the bottom of slides you borrowed from him:

Slide courtesy of John Doe


Slide modified from John Doe, with permission

In addition, you can thank him in your acknowledgements at the end of your talk.


In practice, what I've often seen is to just stick in a footnote saying "slide from [name]" or something similar. To do otherwise could be considered plagiarism. Admittedly, people are not picky about this with slides the way they are with papers; it seems to be tacitly accepted sometimes to borrow figures or entire slides without always acknowledging the source, but still, unless you want to be the kind of person who doesn't care about academic integrity, I think you should strive to credit the sources of your content.

If you want something more formal, you could have your friend upload his slides to figshare, which will archive them and allow him to claim a DOI. You can then use that DOI for a more standard citation.

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