Say like you have an idea that says: 'X is a cheap alternative to Y' (Smith 2010, p. 2). Now you write a paper about ABC and paraphrase Smith's idea. Next week, you write another paper which happens to have an idea similar to ABC and you had to use Smith's idea again to solidify your choice or analysis. The same thing happens for a third time, etc... Can you use it again over and over? Albeit I will admit that I try to differently paraphrase the idea each time I use it.

1 Answer 1


Of course! If you write multiple papers in the same area, you'll cite many of the same papers in each paper. No one should be required to know your history of publication to get a fully account of related work from one of your papers.

  • And is my practice of trying to paraphrase the idea each time in a unique way (in order not to repeat myself verbatim), is it a good one?
    – R. AS.
    Commented Jun 14, 2016 at 18:30
  • At a certain point, rather than finding new paraphrases, why not just quote Smith verbatim, put it in quotation marks, and insert the appropriate citation? Commented Jun 14, 2016 at 18:32
  • @R.AS. That seems like a good thing to do.
    – Ric
    Commented Jun 14, 2016 at 18:42

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