I was surprised to see a review on a topic where I have published an original article, where my article was not cited. My surprise was even bigger because this review was issued from the same department where my original article was issued and it was concerning the same topic. The first author was somebody I don't know personally, but the corresponding author is my professor, who was also a co-author in my original article. I must also say that my original article has many international citations, and it saddened me a lot to realize that my own department and my own professor, forgot to cite my (their) own published work.

I emailed my professor the fact that I felt forgotten and that this was not academically correct but the answer I received did not make things better. He said that

many other articles aren't included, because this review was covering many topics and that the main topic was "A". The part of the topic B (my topic) was not included in the aim of the review but was asked by a reviewer so it was added later.

But I'm not happy with this answer, because the topic B is even included in the main title of the review. But even the topic A could be enough for a citation of my original article. Later he said that in a review article they can cite only the recent 2 years original articles and that he was not obliged to cite my (our) original article.

I have obtained my PhD from this department, 5 years ago, and my original article was published 5 years ago. The review was published last month.

Do you believe that this was academically correct?

  • 5
    "Later he said that in a review article they can cite only the recent 2 years original articles." And is that actually the case: i.e., did someone write a review article on a topic in which the only citations were to papers published within the last two years? (I would find that amazing.) This seems like a definitive question: if this is indeed the practice, then the practice might be weird but that's a reason he didn't cite a ton of other work. If it isn't...well, he's a big fat liar. Mar 12, 2017 at 18:13
  • 7
    Anyway: maybe what he did was not academically correct, but it's himself he's not citing as well as you, so he must have had some reasons for it. Moreover, given that your paper was published five years ago and has "many international citations," it seems that you have already won -- i.e., this work of yours was widely read and appreciated. So this is not a lack of citation that causes you to lose priority or academic credit or anything like that. If you pursue the point further, the only outcome I can see is to further fray your relationship with your former thesis advisor. Mar 12, 2017 at 18:17
  • 9
    You are making a fuss about nothing. Let it go. You can't force anyone to write the way you want. For some reason, he does not seem to think the work is relevant to his goals at this particular survey. It does not say anything about the quality of your reasearch and your friendship with him.
    – Shake Baby
    Mar 12, 2017 at 20:21
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    Is it possible the first author of the review paper wasn't aware of your work, or that it related so tangentially to his/her paper that adding your work would actually muddy the waters? Not every paper published on a topic needs (or should) be added, unless the author wants to just to bolster the reference list - sometimes a picture is clearer with fewer brush strokes.
    – Inde
    Mar 12, 2017 at 22:47
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    You can continue to work with him if you think that this oversight is small compared to the advantages of future collaborations with him. I really disagree that forgetting a reference to related work (i.e., a helpful reference rather than a necessary reference) is evidence that someone is not a "respectable professor," but it's up to you to judge. The fact that he is giving you ridiculous excuses is much more of a concern. Ultimately you have to decide whether you want to keep working with him, but even if you don't, pushing too hard on this is likely to be disadvantageous to both of you. Mar 12, 2017 at 23:01

1 Answer 1


Agreeing with @PeteL.Clark: define precisely what you want as outcome of the interaction, and act following this outcome.

My experience of priority issues and fighting "not being cited" that, unless your work is so promising that a priority/citation fight warrants all-out war to gain or not lose visibility, the loss of concord is usually not worth it; as unfair as that may seem, the one complaining about being ignored is often seen as the one "disturbing the peace". It shouldn't be like that, but this is an empirical observation I made, even in blatant cases of intentional ignoring. Maybe it has something to do that quite a few times it's the ones with the most aggressive "nostrification" tendency who battle the issue of being ignored in the most forceful manner.

Now, there are indeed cases where all-out priority wars may be war-ranted (pun intended) to ensure that one is at least etched in the community's minds, but keep in mind, even then, the outcome is all but assured.

Lots of unfairness happens, to all of us, but it is usually the long-term that counts. Given that your old article attracted a lot of citations, you probably are better off just ignoring the matter, but only you can judge whether entering the war-ring (yes, pun intended again) as response to your latest slight is worth it.

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