For my thesis, I think it would be useful that I write down a derivation my supervisor made in one of his papers. However, even though it seems fine when considering the paper on its own, the way the derivation was performed is outdated and does not fit well with other parts of the now existing literature (for examples, variables have now different meanings).

I need to use parts of the work done in the paper in my thesis, but I cannot do so directly because it clashes with other parts of literature I will have to use (again, for example, variable names from other chapters have different meanings).

How can I best deal with this? The "naive" way would be to say that I am taking the derivation from his paper while adapting it. But then, would it be OK to simply cite this once or do I have to cite every single equation?

  • 1
    You could make your rewrite an appendix explicitly aimed at rewriting the derivation in modern notation. Include the reference.
    – Jon Custer
    Mar 31 at 14:24

1 Answer 1


The purpose of citations is to attribute intellectual ownership. As long as it is clear to the reader that you are adapting the derivation there is nothing to fear. Citing every single part of the derivation is an overkill that just annoys the reader. If you are fearful, say at the beginning what you are doing and then say it at the end again.

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