I want to reference a fact from a piece of literature. This fact has came from a literature search by the author and has used information from 150+ other sources and compiled this into a table. Now I know for most things I am to read the original paper but this literature search was part of the beginning of their research and is what they used to get all of their results from. Am I okay just to reference the main paper? Thanks.

  • I have this question often when writing math articles. A lot of time I do end up reading through a lot of references of references (of references) either if I don't understand the summary or want to appreciate the context, etc. Then it's hard to decide when it matters enough to cite more source stuff where I could cite someone else's summary.
    – j0equ1nn
    Oct 18, 2017 at 7:04

1 Answer 1


What you're describing is a meta-review, since the review is critiquing and analyzing a collection of existing papers. Because the results are newly derived based on the authors' original work, you do not need to cite all of the 150+ other articles the authors of the meta-review cited, but only the meta-review itself, as well as any of the 150+ papers you directly use elsewhere in your paper.

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