Some time I have to use some mathematical proofs in my research papers. In many situations it happens that the proof is my own and I have not seen it in the literature. In these situations the proof works fine for me but I can not say for sure that its 100% correct (because there may be some fundamental errors which I do not realize). In this case is it ok to have it reviewed from the experts on the stackexchange. If I submit it through a research paper then it may be very late. Does sharing it on stackexchange risks its originality (if there is some) and subsequent lesser chance of being accepted as the research article?


1 Answer 1


You've done some original research, you get very exited, and you want someone to share it with. Often MSE is the easiest place to find an audience. I am often tempted to post parts of my research there, but try not to. For one thing my discoveries always seem obvious after I've made them, and I worry about being scooped. That's my biggest fear. And your posts on this site stay up FOREVER. Most journals will probably not care because most accept papers after they have been posted on Arxiv. But, if you end up using part of someone's answer in your paper, ethically you should cite them. I would rather torture myself for a few more days and come up with a perfectly clear and logical proof on my own than cite some guy on SE.

That being said, if you really want to use MSE for proof checking here's what I suggest. Try to find the specific part of your proof you are unsure about, and then craft a question that is as general as possible but such that an answer will let you know if you were correct.

  • "I would rather torture myself ... than cite some guy on SE." --Why? How it's different from communications with your colleagues in your university?
    – svavil
    Commented Jun 19, 2016 at 21:16
  • It's not different, I just prefer to work alone. Commented Jun 19, 2016 at 23:51
  • @ForeverMozart I agree that one can torture himself to find a proof but what if a similar proof is already provided by somebody on SE but the person who torture himself does not know about this. In this case what will be the originality of the proof in the eyes of a reviewer of the research paper? Commented Jun 20, 2016 at 6:56
  • @FrankMoses Well, I assume your overall research problem has not been solved. To find this out, you should search SE, google, MathSciNet, etc. If there is just a small piece of your argument that you want to check, then you can probably phrase it in a very general way and post that on SE. Commented Jun 20, 2016 at 19:52

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