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This is particularly pertinent to the CS culture, where competitive conferences are often the main publication unit, which are then (sometimes) followed by journal versions.

Suppose that a paper was published at a conference as version A, and say, 5 years later, in a journal as version B (with the same title and authors). Assume also that during those 5 years, additional relevant papers on the topic were published.

When doing literature review in the introduction of future papers, the author of A and B is faced with a dilemma. To accurately reflect the historical development, he wants to cite version A and then the papers that followed it. However, the paper he actually wants people to read and cite is version B -- since it's cleaner, expanded, improved, etc. He can cite both versions, but then it looks like he's trying to rack up citations.

Does the CS community have a set etiquette for dealing with this situation? Is there perhaps a bibtex format where a single bib-entry covers both versions? Something that conveys the point "published first in year Y at venue V [so precedence is established] and then expanded version appeared in year Y' at venue V' [so just go read that one]"?

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    $\begingroup$ One option could be to cite the improved version and add a note in the bibtex file: note = "supersedes STOC1834" (or whatever conference published version A). $\endgroup$ May 14, 2016 at 22:11
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    $\begingroup$ But that would mean that the date associated with the bibitem is the later one (i.e., of version B), which breaks the historical flow in the main text. $\endgroup$
    – Aryeh
    May 14, 2016 at 22:17
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    $\begingroup$ If I was citing someone else's paper in this scenario, it sounds like I would cite both versions in order to be clear. So maybe there is some etiquette I'm missing, but I don't see a problem with citing both versions if it's your own paper. $\endgroup$
    – usul
    May 14, 2016 at 23:04
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    $\begingroup$ I would do what Radu says and cite the journal version, but (if the timing is important) add a note to the same citation about earlier conferences or preprints, regardless of whether it is my own paper or someone else's, unless the conference and journal papers have other significant differences than completeness (such as changes to the author list or claimed results). $\endgroup$ May 15, 2016 at 1:03
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    $\begingroup$ You could always use Name (Year, announced EarlierYear). $\endgroup$ May 15, 2016 at 7:17

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Usually I just cite the journal version. But (if the history is important) I would add a note to the same citation about earlier conferences or preprints.

I think this style is preferable to making one paper look like two citations, except possibly in cases where the conference and journal papers have other significant differences than completeness (such as changes to the author list or claimed results). It is also unrelated to whether the citation is to my own paper or someone else's.

For harvard-style Name (year) citations, it might also make sense to mention the earlier version in-text as Name (year, announced earlier-year), as well as putting the information in the actual reference.

[Converted from a comment to an answer at the suggestion of Kaveh]

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  • $\begingroup$ Could you maybe explain why you prefer not citing the earlier paper and adding a note about it instead? $\endgroup$
    – usul
    May 22, 2016 at 13:44
  • $\begingroup$ Because I don't want to clog up the references with duplicate citations. And in the case of my own papers, because I don't want to be packing in an excessive number of self-citations. $\endgroup$ May 22, 2016 at 23:40

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