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In the following example, google scholar says (bibtex and everything related) that the paper is from 2014:

https://scholar.google.com/citations?view_op=view_citation&hl=en&user=kLGQWIsAAAAJ&citation_for_view=kLGQWIsAAAAJ:u5HHmVD_uO8C

same thing for ORCID.org:

https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1045-5880

When you go to

https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/6905844

it confirms: "Date of Publication: 19 September 2014."

Clicking on the question mark refers to an explanation:

"The Date of Publication for Journals...was simplified to reflect a single publication date..."

https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/Xplorehelp/ieee-xplore-training/working-with-documents#publication-dates

which sounds promising: no ambiguity, but a single date to refer to.

However, if you click "cite this" on the page, the bibtex says year 2015, which is what counts and everyone cites and refers to.

What's up? This discrepancy seems to be in every TVCG paper that I've checked so far.

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  • As you already read in your 3rd link, "IEEE Xplore represents the very first instance of public dissemination". This date relates to online publication of the work and is often as soon as possible for the journal (i.e., 2014 in your example). But later, the paper gets published in an scheduled volume at a certain page (i.e., 2015 in your example), and after this time you can mention the page number and volume at your citations.
    – m123
    Commented Mar 23 at 22:44
  • In what issue the paper is going to be published in is usually known right away. Also, you didn't explain the discrepancy between the different sources.
    – Zohar Levi
    Commented Mar 25 at 0:31
  • @ZoharLevi "In what issue the paper is going to be published in is usually known right away" - I have experience with two IEEE journals and this definitely is not the case. They "fake publish" it online first (i.e. they just put the accepted version up, not even the actual copyedited one) and fix that as the official publication date. Then at some point, which can be months or even a year later, the paper gets assigned to a print issue. The BibTeX data then refers to the bibliographic reference for the journal, which is the corresponding print issue. The online publication year is irrelevant.
    – J. P.
    Commented Apr 4 at 4:33

1 Answer 1

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Perhaps what's confusing is that the statement says (emphasis mine):

The Date of Publication for Journals and Standards on IEEE Xplore represents the very first instance of public dissemination. IEEE Xplore previously made distinctions between the online publication date, print publication date, etc. This was simplified to reflect a single publication date of record as defined above.

If you interpret this as "we used to make this distinction, but will not do so going forward" and don't expect the change to apply retroactively, then it makes sense you can find papers that were first distributed online in 2014, and first published in print in 2015. (I don't know when they made the change, but in the absence of evidence to the contrary, I will assume it happened after the paper in question was published.)

Whether you write 2014 or 2015 in citations to the work might depend on conventions of your field, but I would tend to suggest going with the bibTeX entry from IEEE here. It at least used to be the case that it was the print version was assumed to be the version of record, and represented the "official" time of publication. The Google Scholar entry is clearly based on the online publication date, and well, Google Scholar is just a database, not an authoritative source of publication details.

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  • That may be the case. But reason say: 1) the going forward should have a year, and consistency should be kept backwards; 2) there should be one year only; 3) both google and ieee are big enough to make an effort to be in synch; 4) the suggested bibtex doesn't align with "going forward."
    – Zohar Levi
    Commented Mar 25 at 0:36
  • @ZoharLevi 1) Consistency is likely much less of a priority than not breaking previously published citations. 2) There is only one year for the version of record, but there are often different years for different versions. 3) Google is big enough, sure, but also don't appear to care much about Google Scholar. I've seen it being very wrong in some citations, they don't fix bugs etc. I think GS just isn't a money maker for them, so nowhere near a priority. 4) Not sure. I didn't check IEEE's bibtex entries for recent years.
    – Anyon
    Commented Mar 25 at 17:09

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