I would like to ask the Mathematica Stackexchange community if it is possible to use content (i.e., Mathematica codes) published by the forum users in academic papers.

If possible, I would like to hear opinions/thoughts about what is the correct manner to cite the content. The question here is: many users are identified by nicknames, and in this case it is impossible to cite the person directly. In this case should I cite the community itself, or should I try to contact the person who actuallly has presented the content/code, and ask for an authorization?

Thanks in advance.

  • 6
    If you go to any Mathematics question or answer, and click on share > cite, you'll see a popup containing the bibtex entry for the post. It has been used for quite some time on Math and for much longer on MathOverflow, so I guess it's safe to say that it's a respectable way to cite someone's contribution. Just copy the template from any one of their posts and change the contents accordingly.
    – rm -rf Mod
    Commented Apr 1, 2013 at 17:54
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    @rm-rf I would enjoy a lot reading a paper whose bibliographic references come from a subset of (for example) "JM, rm -rf, Verbeia, belisarius, Mr. Wizard, Rojo, Jens ..." :D Commented Apr 1, 2013 at 18:01
  • 3
    @rm-rf I'm probably blind, but I see Google, Facebook, and Twitter, but not "cite." Where is it?
    – Mr.Wizard
    Commented Apr 1, 2013 at 21:35
  • @Mr.Wizard, I thought I was the only one who didn't see this... but that's true... there is no "cite" option for us... :-(
    – Rod
    Commented Apr 1, 2013 at 22:15
  • @Mr.Wizard and Rod, i.sstatic.net/jcXpW.png
    – rm -rf Mod
    Commented Apr 1, 2013 at 22:27
  • @rm-rf That's exactly the problem... the option "cite" is available for the math.stackexchange.com community, but unfortunately it is (somehow) not available for our community...
    – Rod
    Commented Apr 1, 2013 at 23:04
  • 3
    @RodLm I explicitly said math.se and not mathematica.se, because I know it's not available here. AFAIK, this is enabled only on math and cstheory. It's not available in other sites (including this one) because there isn't a demonstrable need for it.
    – rm -rf Mod
    Commented Apr 1, 2013 at 23:07
  • 1
    @rm-rf How would one go about demonstrating such a need?
    – acl
    Commented Apr 2, 2013 at 17:45
  • 1
    @acl You could open a meta question here, tag it feature-request and ask for the functionality. I guess they go by votes on the request (and support expressed in the comments). I don't see there being an opposition to it from SE (but you never know)
    – rm -rf Mod
    Commented Apr 2, 2013 at 18:25
  • Well, it seems to be of general interest to request such a feature...
    – Rod
    Commented Apr 2, 2013 at 19:36
  • I would be interested in this feature also :)
    – Tom
    Commented Apr 2, 2013 at 21:54
  • @RodLm Please do so :)
    – rm -rf Mod
    Commented Apr 3, 2013 at 1:58

1 Answer 1


Referencing styles vary by journal. Here's how I once referenced a StackExchange author. In the text, I had:

The function inPolyQ from \cite{Zachar} tests whether a point is inside a polygon.

The citation was then:

István Zachar, inPolyQ, LocatorPane and PlotRange

The paper has yet to appear...

  • (Unrelated to the question) You can find alternatives (including built-ins) to test if a point is inside a polygon here
    – rm -rf Mod
    Commented Apr 1, 2013 at 17:51
  • 1
    Very cool... more "undocumented functions" that do just what you want. I'm going to have to read some of this undocumentation more carefully.
    – bill s
    Commented Apr 1, 2013 at 18:00
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    Wow, thanks for the citation, but you should be aware that I merely borrowed it from Sjoerd and he adopted it from Robert Sedgewick's Algorithms. Just a disclaimer :) Commented Apr 1, 2013 at 19:54
  • @IstvánZachar I may have incorrectly attributed it to Sedgewick. I know I had been reading his book at the time, but I also visited several web sites devoted to this problem. I may have mixed up the references and have adapted code from for instance this page, which looks very similar. Commented Apr 12, 2013 at 22:24
  • Thanks Istvan -- if my paper ever surfaces from review, I will be sure to revise the citation.
    – bill s
    Commented Apr 14, 2013 at 12:18

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