By "length" I mean the amount of space on the page in the PDF or printed journal. Obviously the length of the references section will depend on the style, so that will be a factor.

I am thinking of one with a very large number of references.

I am not so interested in a paper where some of the references have very long lists of authors and therefore take up a lot of space, as in the question below which mentions a single reference taking up half a page.

When citing a paper with a lot of authors; is it OK to shorten the author list in the references section?

I am also not so interested in a paper that uses a bibliographic references style where not every reference is cited in the text.

  • 2
    There are papers in which the author listing is longer than the paper itself. Some come from CERN. I don't see how you measure the "length" of the references section without specifying something about how to list authors and titles.
    – Buffy
    Apr 23, 2022 at 15:51
  • Yes, I came across the CERN one mentioned here: nature.com/articles/nature.2015.17567 But when that is cited, the author list seems to usually be condensed. By length I just mean the amount of space on the page. I will edit the question to say this.
    – gib
    Apr 23, 2022 at 16:08
  • But even then, there are too many ways to "condense" it. But I'll guess, at least, that there are short papers with lots of references. Some papers even provide a bibliographic reference section where not every reference is strictly required.
    – Buffy
    Apr 23, 2022 at 16:14
  • Here is a sample that probably doesn't fit your criteria, but note the difference in font sizes: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2763764
    – Buffy
    Apr 23, 2022 at 16:17
  • 1
    I can easily imagine that serious historical accounts of mathematical ideas could have several bibliographical citations every few sentences... For that matter, the intro-and-historical-background to my book "Modern Analysis of Automorphic forms..." is dense with bibliographic citations, and probably is about the same the length as the actual bibliography (all of which is cited in that intro). Apr 23, 2022 at 20:53

1 Answer 1


Zbigniew Tylczyński: "A collection of 505 papers on false or unconfirmed ferroelectric properties in single crystals, ceramics and polymers", Frontiers of Physics, 14, 63301 (2019) has a reference list occupying almost 20 full pages, while the main part of the paper occupies about 18.5 full pages. The majority of the references are cited from within tables with a fair amount of white space, rather than from within running text. The paper itself is essentially an overview and criticism of commonly encountered errors in the area of ferroelectricity.

  • The comment by Dave L Renfro gives another example
    – gib
    Apr 25, 2022 at 8:24

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