I am interested in citing a paper. This paper has ~30 citations from others, which is respectable and indicates that a fair number of people have also found it worth discussing. However, a fairly prominent citation discussed in this paper is of an (in my opinion) low quality article from an undoubtedly predatory journal. My gut feeling is this is a minor issue and I shouldn't be concerned with citing the work as whole, and just do not pay any attention to the problematic citation; doing so wouldn't affect my planned work. However, I was wondering if there is something I have overlooked and should be concerned with before proceeding.

  • Seems to be answered by this question: academia.stackexchange.com/q/21868/56207
    – Laurel
    Jun 5, 2021 at 0:43
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    @Laurel From what I understand, OP is not citing a paper from a predatory journal; they are citing a paper that cites another paper in a predatory journal. Jun 5, 2021 at 9:02
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    You omitted the main point: why are they citing that paper? Maybe they just discuss it as existing priori work with a different approach, this is good. Maybe the whole paper is built on top of that one without questioning its validity, then that's a problem. Jun 5, 2021 at 12:54
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    remotely related: academia.stackexchange.com/q/84829/4484
    – GEdgar
    Jun 5, 2021 at 17:01
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    @MarcGlisse You are correct, the problematic citation is cited it as existing work with a relevant approach. Jun 6, 2021 at 7:41

2 Answers 2


So to sum up: you are concerned that citing a paper that cites a paper that might not be of the highest standard is going to reflect on your paper. I would say your concerns are groundless.

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    When you summarize it like so, it does make my question seem very trivial. I agree with your response. Jun 6, 2021 at 7:44

It is obligatory to cite works that you use in your research. This includes bad works, works with errors, works that have never been cited, works published in bad/predatory journals, and works that were never published.

When deciding to cite something, the first thing to ask yourself is, "Did I use this in my research?" If the answer is yes, you need to cite it. If the answer is no, you may or may not need to cite it.

When deciding if you should cite a paper, disregard a citation to a predatory journal in that paper.

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    Personally, I strive to cite all relevant works, when that is feasible. Jun 5, 2021 at 6:34
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    The problem as stated by the OP is unclear, but in an extreme case, if you're writing work about publications in predatory journals, most of your citations are likely to come from predatory journals.
    – user117096
    Jun 5, 2021 at 16:26
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    @DanubianSailor This case is not only extreme, but also special, in that the reason for citing is different than in 99.99% of all cases. Jun 5, 2021 at 18:18

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