I am writing a scientific paper and compare my results with those of other studies in several tables and figures. When presenting the data, I have one column in the table/ one axis in the diagram, where I provide the sources of the data (with very low space). The other studies I can abbreviate with the reference, e.g. [31].

Does anyone have a good idea how to abbreviate the reference to my own data? I could write "t.s." for "this study", but it seems strange to me.

Best regards


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    Use a symbol such as an asterisk and explain in the table caption that it refers to the work at hand? – carlosvalderrama Sep 6 '19 at 13:19
  • It is not actually necessary to abbreviate. Writing it out is the best solution.
  • In a table column containing references, a blank cell would clearly indicate "this study." I suggest putting your own data at the end of the table, separated by a rule.
  • When referring to data, "own" is a brief synonym for "this study."
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    "Writing it out is the best solution": the OP indirectly says that the column is not wide enough to write it out. "a blank cell would clearly indicate": in my experience, something that is definitely clear for someone may be totally unclear for someone else. Better be explicit in the caption. – Massimo Ortolano Sep 8 '19 at 8:46
  • @MassimoOrtolano Even if the column is too narrow, I would still argue the premise that abreviation necessary is wrong. Change something else instead. – Anonymous Physicist Sep 8 '19 at 8:53
  • Thanks @Anonymous Physicist. I find it very good to abreviate it with "own". – wilko Sep 8 '19 at 15:14

As already indicated in my comment, you can use a symbol such as an asterisk to denote the work at hand. Then, explain the meaning of this symbol in the table caption where you should have the space therfor.

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  • Thanks @carlosvalderrama, a symbol is a good idea! However, I find it even better to abbreviate it with "own" as proposed by Anonymous Physicist. – wilko Sep 8 '19 at 15:13
  • It is a matter of taste, of course. Independent of what you pick, make sure to accept the answer you find most suitable. – carlosvalderrama Sep 8 '19 at 20:00

A common approach in my field is to refer to studies by the initials of the authors. Suppose you and your coauthor are Mentee, A, and Supervisor, B. The other study is Erdos, P., and Einstein, A.

In EA, it was shown that ..., however, in AB, we show that...

I find this to be a bit more formal than "t.s." and can be applied to all studies in a consistent way. Of course, this does require adding a short explanation of this naming convention.

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  • Which initials do you pick up when there are, say, ten authors? – Massimo Ortolano Sep 7 '19 at 17:50
  • @MassimoOrtolano, hmmm, or 300 or so? – Buffy Sep 7 '19 at 22:52
  • The first few? This is not common in my field, so I can't say what is done. – user23658 Sep 8 '19 at 2:29

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