I want to cite the Ethereum Project's white paper. It was the document that announced the project and outlined its philosophies, properties, etc. However, in 2014 they moved the paper to GitHub and treat it as a living document. For example, although the paper was initially released in 2013, as of today it has 84 revisions on GitHub with the most recent being two hours ago. They do not make a PDF available that I have found, nor have I been able to locate a DOI.

I'm going to assume that I would need to cite a specific version of the document, but I'm not sure if there is a preferred way to do that.

Note this question is similar to, but distinct from, this question which addresses how to cite an entire repository that one owns. I'm asking how to cite a specific document within a repository owned by someone else.

  • Wouldn't citing the repository be enough the internal documents?
    – Coder
    Jul 30, 2017 at 21:49
  • I believe that if you cite the date you accessed the reader is able to retrieve the specific files available at that time given that github is basically a version control software.
    – user63725
    Jul 30, 2017 at 21:54
  • @andorian That is correct, but I wasn't sure if there was another accepted best practice different from that.
    – Dave
    Jul 30, 2017 at 23:21
  • 3
    For GitHub specifically, I would cite the hash of the current revision.
    – Fomite
    Jul 31, 2017 at 9:28

1 Answer 1


Please go ahead a create a DOI for the specific release yourself and use it to cite the work.

Also, you could fork your own copy of the wiki and keep it updated from time to time from the main branch.

Versioning DOI: You can also get a DOI automatically issued for every release of the 'Living Document' by Zenoda. Details are here.

Here is a guide: https://help.github.com/articles/referencing-and-citing-content/

  • As the document is a Wiki page, getting a Zenodo DOI may be harder. Additionally, only project maintainers can create DOIs for the repository, and only for explicitly marked releases. An alternative would be to use a commit-specific URL (e.g. this URL for the current commit at the time of writing - get it by looking at the revision history and clicking the commit ID on the latest commit).
    – malexmave
    Jul 31, 2017 at 8:35

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