Sometimes I get papers for translation, larded with repeated citations of publications of the authors’ friends and teachers, two to three times within a paragraph and as often as possible throughout the manuscript….I try to replace with “the latter”, “the former” etc, but is there any tried and tested rule about how often and within which distance references may be re-cited?

  • 3
    When you refer to the authors' friends and teachers, you imply that you see this as simply trying to boost each others' citation indices. However, it makes no difference how many times a particular paper is cited within a single source, so repeated citations are not an issue. In fact, if a work is being cited multiple times in a short space, that implies it is relevant to the current manuscript and not just bolted on as an afterthought. Nov 22, 2017 at 12:52

1 Answer 1


The golden rule of citation is that you attribute everything that you did not invent yourself to the right person(s).

The golden rule of boring writing is to repeat yourself as often as possible.

Just make sure that it is clear what came from whom. If you say: "In the following paragraph we describe the main ideas of [2]", you do not need to repeat [2] in that paragraph, but if you compare two approaches it might be necessary to mention the papers/people more often.

  • You could also use "In the following paragraph we describe the main ideas of A, B and C [2]" and subsequently refer to "A, B and C" rather than "[2]" where necessary
    – user2768
    Nov 22, 2017 at 13:38

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