Is it bad to reference ideas which have not yet been defined in detail within the abstract for a research paper? For example, if I have a section (lets say section 4) in my paper that defines a new concept such as "The Quadrilateral Optimization", within my abstract, would it be acceptable to write "The Quadrilateral Optimization (§4) excels specifically with points that are randomly generated."


A paper containing a concept X can be cited with respect to X if any one or more of the following applies:

  • X is clearly defined
  • An intuition of X is provided
  • A constraint of X is explained
  • An application of X is experimented
  • An application concerning X is accounted
  • A logically contradicting definition of X is theorized

A mere inclusion of the name of the concept X does not mean that it deserves to be cited

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  • So does this still apply if "X" is ONLY defined within the paper that I am writing? Or must it be defined in another source? – Arman Jun 2 '16 at 4:54
  • Just to clarify, "X" in this case is a new idea that has not necessarily been defined elsewhere, only later on in the paper I am writing. – Arman Jun 2 '16 at 4:55
  • @Arman: If by 'defined', you mean clearly defined and you are sure that the concept X has not been defined before elsewhere, then by all means you may cite the paper with X. – Ébe Isaac Jun 2 '16 at 4:58

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