I have a question about references. I was reading a paper and I emailed the author asked him about something if it is already known or not. Let make it as example, I asked about basic property say $P$ and he stated the property $P$ in general case he said that he did not know a reference for this property. What's more, he did not believe if anyone write the property in this general case. My question, in case I need to use his idea in my project, what should I do ? since there is no reference for that just his email.

  • @GoodDeeds, It does . Thank so much – 00GB May 29 at 17:27
  • This sounds like your actual issue is how to argue that no research has been done on some problem of interest. The question about using an email as reference is completely secondary. Mostly, people just do a thorough literature review (that may include asking other experts) until they're confident no research has been done. When publishing on this novel topic, they usually have an introductory section that explains what related and (indirectly) relevant literature exists and how it relates to their novel research. That counts as "evidence" for the novelty of the research. No reference needed. – henning May 30 at 11:16
  • I think this is the actual duplicate (and there are probably more): academia.stackexchange.com/questions/96768/… – henning May 30 at 11:18

I have sometimes seen in the references an entry like:


[37] Professor Bigshot, Private Correspondence


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    I add that it has to be used carefully, or perhaps in better words, when no other choice is possible. It just provides some authoritative character to the assertion made, but it is basically useless for the readers. – Alchimista May 30 at 9:36

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