My background is in biomedical research. Citing preprints seem to be an acceptable practice now, which are non peer-reviewed materials.

My question is: what about pubpeer comments? They are also not peer-reviewed. Although most of the time they are anonymous, and do not have a DOI.

Can, and should I cite pubpeer comments? How about academic social media / forum discussions? If I am not allowed to cite them, how do I properly credit their content?

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    Cite them for what, and why? Who will vouch for their reliability or validity?
    – Buffy
    Commented Sep 27, 2023 at 23:35
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    Cite for opinion and critiques mainly. Anonymous materials may be difficult, but influential scientists do occasionally share their views on social media platforms. These named scientists will vouch for the validity of what themselves have said.
    – abcoxyzide
    Commented Sep 28, 2023 at 0:35
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    @Buffy cite them for where you got an idea from?? If you write a paper about a new theorem that you found in a youtube comment you'd STILL have to cite that source. The onus of proving their reliability is on you as the author.
    – Hobbamok
    Commented Sep 28, 2023 at 13:46

1 Answer 1


If you use the material, no matter where it comes from, you need a citation. Identifying the source to your best knowledge.

Not being peer reviewed would tell me that I don't need to believe that what you quoted was correct (I trust you to quote it correctly, but what you quote might be wrong), but if this non-peer reviewed article was just your inspiration, then you need a citation to avoid claiming it was your idea, and getting inspiration from an article that turns out wrong is just fine.

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    Exactly this. If you got inspired by a Youtube comment you still need to cite it. The only benefit of citing peer-reviewes sources is that you can largely forgo checking their validity yourself (though you definitely still should)
    – Hobbamok
    Commented Sep 28, 2023 at 13:47

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