I am a second author on a paper with two other researchers, and something has made me very uncomfortable. In the article in question, we are referring to a model which we use to produce our analyses. The model was developed by some third-party agency. The other two authors think it is a good idea to make some description of the model in the article, and I don't disagree. The problem is how they want to do it.

They actually copied some text that is from a publication of one of the makers of the model and pasted it as such in a box. They want to place the box somewhere in the body of the text. More precisely we have:

/Box Starts/

The model we use is bla bla bla. This model has been described elsewhere (citation). Briefly, [quotation of someone else's work, about seven lines]

/Box ends/

As I try to show, they do cite the article from which they took the description of the model. But then they go on with text from that article without relying on any quotation convention. I thought the right way to do this was to first implicitly introduce the paper from which the text comes, e.g. "According to Smith 2015, ...", followed by a section of indented or otherwise visually distinctive text. Do these conventions not apply when using a text box? Should I worry about citing this way or can this be a case of plagiarism?

  • 1
    Could you tell us which field you work in? This can be relevant for different established citation styles.
    – Ian
    Feb 21, 2017 at 11:59
  • Social sciences. Feb 21, 2017 at 12:06

1 Answer 1


APA format requires indenting:

For direct quotations of more than 40 words, display the quote as an indented block of text without quotation marks and include the authors’ names, year, and page number in parentheses at the end of the quote.

IEEE style requires surrounding the relevant part with quotes.

That said, both of the previous links recommend that direct quotes be used very sparingly. A reference followed by a summarization is definitely preferable.

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