A country implements the most stringent environmental regulations in a region.

For a general statement/common knowledge like this, I cited a peer-reviewed journal paper, which has a similar claim in their introduction. However, the problem is neither this claim is the main findings of the journal paper, nor the paper provides any secondary citation. So it is a general claim made by the authors.

Can I cite the paper? or must I cite all the related environmental standards of all the countries from the region? I really think it is unnecessary, however, there is no such review in this region and in this subject.

  • 3
    You need to say who determined that based on which methodology/metrics. If you can't do that, it depends on the definitions of "stringent" and "environmental regulations" and is thus not comparable to textbook knowledge but more of a personal opinion. You should avoid personal opinions when writing a scientific manuscript.
    – user9482
    Commented Sep 25, 2019 at 12:34
  • General practice shows that a citation is needed for recent, or technical, or disputable statements; whilst common knowledge statements come off as mere context drawing. However it is often tricky to acknowledge what is in fact common knowledge or not, especially when one is a seasoned specialist.
    – Scientist
    Commented Oct 25, 2019 at 11:25
  • If you don't have evidence that your claim is true, be it from the literature or from your own work, you shouldn't make that claim. "Common knowledge" is often unreliable. Commented Oct 19, 2020 at 19:45

1 Answer 1


If you want to use a fact, either prove it yourself or cite a reliable source. If that paper does not provide a source for that fact then it’s not good enough in my opinion, but standards across fields vary.

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