Recently, I was working on some mathematics (number theory) and try to do that just for a math fun. Prior to that, I did not refer to any literature or any research articles, as I was doing this for fun. But I went in very deep and spent almost 15 days on that as it was getting interesting.

After one stage, I was able to represent the numbers in a series representation but was not able to find the equation. After a few more days of work, I was able to extract the equation. Now, I can represent that series in one equation. This makes me very curious, as all this I did just by trial and error method and found on my own.

I know that, making equation of some series is not a big task. But, the way I came to that equation is making me think to publish an article on that.

I thought to search on whether this equation is available or not, and as it was expected the research on that has already been done.

In this scenario, can I publish a research article on the topic?

  • Have you also checked that the method is actually new, and not already known and used for solving other things? Commented Oct 19, 2016 at 15:02
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    If this is an integer sequence you can check out oeis.org to see if it's already known. If it's known it will have references you could check to see if your result in novel or not.
    – Winther
    Commented Oct 19, 2016 at 15:21
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    Probably all mathematicians who were once students have such "repeat" results in their drawer somewhere. (Or nowadays on their computer.) The value is that you learned something, But usually such things should not be published.
    – GEdgar
    Commented Oct 20, 2016 at 1:08
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    If your work is not worth a paper - as others have suggested - it is surely worth a blog entry. You might have not discovered a new solution of a problem, but now you know a lot about the problem and you can do a good work by telling others.
    – Pere
    Commented Oct 20, 2016 at 15:28
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    I would mention that "I went in very deep and spent almost 15 days on that" denotes a certain lack of conscience of what mathematical research is like. If in two weeks of time you found by your own something interesting enough to have been the object of a publication before, then congratulations! But be aware that it is probably unpublishable in any decent journal (the suggestion of a blog post is good though). Commented Nov 27, 2016 at 13:12

3 Answers 3


An article is not about you. It is not a reward of effort. In an article you try to communicate to the readers, so it needs to contain something that your readers want to read. If something is already done, then why would I want to read it? Maybe, you have variation, or a special case, or a more general case, that makes your equation or your derivation thereof different and interesting. But if that is not the case, then the answer is simply no.

  • Yes that is true, but I think I can target the method of achieving that, If that is significantly distinguishable than current one then I think it adds something new.
    – codenext
    Commented Oct 19, 2016 at 14:46
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    Perhaps unfortunately, the whole academic publishing culture is not about writing for the education and enjoyment of readers, it is all about proving that you have done something novel and unique. If you wrote about things that had been done in the past but were not well known, your readers might well be very interested indeed, but you would have difficulty getting published. Commented Oct 20, 2016 at 17:41

A mathematics research article need to contain something new. If the result itself is not new, then the method used to obtain it must be new and sufficiently interesting in its own right to be worth an article. The main reasons that the method would be seen as interesting would be either that it is significantly simpler than the existing methods, or that it looks like it might be useful to prove things we don't already know. In the latter case, it would definitely be an advantage if you did use the method to prove something interesting and new, as well as to prove the existing known result.

Note that, if you do try to publish your new proof, it is imperative to cite the existing proof, now that you're aware of its existence.

  • Your answer seems very practical and useful. And from this, I think I get a new thought process for this paper. I think I have to target my paper with facts like, the Method used to achieve that result and how it differes from the existing method and what significance it makes, Also,What new finding or contribution it can make in the existing result, I mean further development on that result.
    – codenext
    Commented Oct 19, 2016 at 14:41

If you had followed an extremely distinct methodology to get to the same position or have a very distinct proof I would say "go for it".

The suggestion that it was found by trial-and-error, though, seems to indicate to me that the actual value of the work would not add to the existing greater body.

  • Yes, you are right, if the result is already there, then I have to target the method and method should be enough distinguishable from existing method.
    – codenext
    Commented Oct 19, 2016 at 14:44

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