I'm reading this research paper and some of the citations are marked like this:

[29] or [29,[30],[31•],[32],[33],[34]]

The bullet points are in superscript, as well as nesting in the bracketing. There is no legend for this symbol in the paper; does it have a standardised meaning?

  • interesting way is also this: [[3•], [4], 4]
    – EarlGrey
    Mar 20 at 9:33

1 Answer 1


By looking at more recent papers from the same journal, for example this https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1359029415000369#bb0140 it looks like these are commented references. With one dot • , they are referred as

Of special interest because [...] It is where someone new to this area should start reading.

with two dots •• . they are referred as:

Of outstanding interest because [...]

Interesting, although not of immediate understanding.

  • This is not extremely common, but I have come across it in different journals, so I would call it "semi-standardised" as per the OP's question. Mar 21 at 9:22
  • @StephanKolassa I agree, although it may depends on the field. Do you have an idea how to read the nested reference [[3•], [4], 4] ?
    – EarlGrey
    Mar 21 at 9:30
  • 1
    No, that one is strange. Looking at the html version, I see that the 3 and the first 4 are hyperlinked to the references - but the second 4 is not hyperlinked. As such, I would assume this is just a typo. (How one manages to introduce this kind of typo into what should presumably be an automatic BibTeX/LaTeX run is not clear to me.) Mar 21 at 10:08

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