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Suppose there is an Arxiv paper that has got 100 citations, this paper is also published in a journal X.

But suppose I prove this paper wrong/incomplete/show many claims are false. I wrote the new paper and submitted it on Arxiv. Maybe it gets published in some journal/conference(not necessarily journal X).

Is there any formal/legal way of transferring those 100 citations to my paper? Other authors have cited the wrong work in their related work section, they should cite the correct one instead, which is my paper. What is the process here?

2 Answers 2

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You are not describing things how they actually work.

Citations point to which work was used to motivate or support a paper, article, or other piece of work at the time the new work is created. They give credit for the ideas that others have that came before them.

If your new work is useful to other people, they will cite it. No changes are made to references to existing work when new work arrives.

If there is an old paper that says "blueberries are orange", when people cite that paper, they are citing it for the result that blueberries are orange. They are not citing it because it is flawless and irreplaceable, they're citing it for exactly how it is at the time it is published. The correct paper for them to reference is the one they actually used, their citations should never be changed, they are part of the record that documents where they got their actual ideas from.

If you can show that actually blueberries are blue, your new paper should cite the old one that says blueberries are orange. If people read your blue blueberries paper, and find it useful, they will cite it for blue blueberries.

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    In fact, some of these papers citing paper X might be doing so in sentences of the kind "Others have claimed -- quite ludicrously, of course -- that blueberries are orange [42], a claim that we refute here with a detailed analysis." Citations are not an endorsement! Sep 19, 2023 at 4:15
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Other papers cited that paper as background evidence from which they built their claims. If they see your paper, they should, logically, be questioning whether their paper still holds water. The appropriate step would be to potentially issue a correction or retraction of their paper, but most scholars don't watch their past work closely enough to do this and are certainly under no legal requirement to do so.

If your work ends up with 100 citations from all of the author's issuing corrections, sweet! You get 100 citations alongside the original paper's 100 citations. You do not automatically get to steal someone else's 100 citations (we should honestly call citations academic experience points/AXP or something more fun) for proving someone else wrong.

If it was only in the related research/I'm not building my argument off of this column, you have no claim to say that your paper was a related work at the time of an x+1 year old study's publication.

Of course, you may be able to get your tenure board to go along with your scheme to get more AXP, but that's totally dependent on them and their policies. They certainly have no power to deduct 100 AXP from someone else at another institution's tenure score.

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  • It is highly unlikely that 100 papers need to be 'corrected' at all.
    – Jon Custer
    Sep 19, 2023 at 13:08

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