Sorry for the tricky title. I am working on a (IEEE) conference paper and in the related work section I have sentence that goes like this:

In [X], the authors derive YYY metric from the Gov. Institution Name's Obscure Parameters Database. Should I put a reference after the "Obscure Parameters Database"? My understanding is that whoever is interested - will be able to find it wither by looking up the [X] work or by searching the Internet for the database (it is open to the public). Am I correct?

  • Don't just assume that anyone interested can find the database by looking up {X} or searching the Internet. Find the database yourself and then cite it directly, with an appropriate URL.
    – JeffE
    Commented Mar 29, 2017 at 11:54
  • The only exception to citing the original referenced work would be in some circumstance where you cannot access the actual original with moderate effort (including purchasing the article from a journal) or reasonably expect your readership to do so. For example, if the original document was a historical record in an archive somewhere, it could be appropriate to cite an article about that record that reproduces it in part.
    – Bryan Krause
    Commented Mar 29, 2017 at 21:37

1 Answer 1


Cite the database, and in citing it and/or in context, provide a way for your audience to know which version or part of the database was used. Ideally, you should provide sufficient details for your audience to know how the authors of work [X] produced their metric.

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