I'm writing a paper detailing a workflow which makes use of some software tools.

I have a sentence very early on in the introduction, which says something like the following.

The tools to use include: Tool One, Tool Two, and Tool Three.

At the moment, this is where the references to the respective papers are, like the following.

The tools to use include: Tool One (Lorem, 2014), Tool Two (Ipsum, 2011), and Tool Three (Ipsum et al., 2015).

Each tool has "its own" section in the paper, where it is discussed in detail. I've a gut feeling that it'd make more sense to include the reference there, although I think that including the reference where the respective tool is first mentioned is the "correct" thing to do.

The editors don't give any preferences, and I think that something like this is assumed to be common knowledge (which unfortunately I don't seem to have).

Is there a documented "best practice" for when a reference needs to be included, i.e., whether it should rigorously follow the first occurrence of the referenced?

The domain is CS/linguistics, in case there are some specific practices I'm not aware of...

  • 1
    Why not have a reference in both places?
    – Niko
    Commented Sep 29, 2015 at 14:17

1 Answer 1


The best thing to do is probably to reference them in both locations.

  • Reference upon first mentioning is a standard convention, which helps your reader because it makes it clear that the term references something that previously exists, not something that you are introducing in this paper.

  • When you discuss again after a significant gap, you should cite the paper again, as discussed in this question.

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