For my new paper, I need to use the notation and definitions of another paper that I wrote in 2019. The notation and definitions take about 3 pages.

I really don't know what to do. Can I copy and paste the notation for the convenience of the reader? Or simply provide a reference? The required material is difficult to summarise.

1 Answer 1


Make life easy for your readers. Not everyone may have access to your earlier paper, or it may be hard to get it, so please don't just point to the earlier one.

I would recommend putting the notations into an appendix or supplementary material for the new paper (which may only be made available online), and pointing to the earlier paper.

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    In the end, it depends on your paper and how important it is to have everything close at hand. If the paper can't be understood without the notations, they will need to be in the main text. Another possibility would be to put a high-level explanation into the text and the stringent definition in the appendix. I am sure your reviewers will have recommendations, too (and their recommendations will likely be different). Commented Mar 29, 2023 at 8:04
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    The paper can't be understood without the notations, I also have to add a few new notations. If you recommend to put it in the main text, should I change the writing or simply copy and paste the notations?
    – M a m a D
    Commented Mar 29, 2023 at 8:15
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    It's hard to give recommendations without the paper itself. Put yourself in the shoes of your reader (I know that is not easy) and ask yourself: if you were reading the paper, what would be most useful? And yes, that may well differ between a reader that is a first-year student and a reader that is an expert in the field, so you will need to think about your target audience. Commented Mar 29, 2023 at 10:09
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    I decided to copy and paste the required notations and definition in an appendix with citation
    – M a m a D
    Commented Mar 29, 2023 at 10:39
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    That may depend on the manuscript submission system. Take a look at the journal's guide for authors. If it's not explicitly specified, you can typically do whatever you prefer - journals are used to getting submissions in widely ranging formats, in one or multiple files. Often enough, multiple submitted files are combined by the system into one large PDF that is then sent out to reviewers. Commented Mar 29, 2023 at 19:39

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