I spent the last few days working on a solution for the question regarding the axiom of choice and vector spaces.

I believe that I have a result, which might be original, and I might be able to generalize it.

Suppose I could and will, and this will end up as a paper. What are the common protocol for acknowledgements to users, the website, etc etc?

(I'm asking here, because it seems like a meta-question. Also I never wrote any paper before)


1 Answer 1


I think it would be very reasonable to add a line at the end of the paper to the effect that "Acknowledgments: Discussions with X, Y, and Z were helpful in developing the ideas in this paper." Sometimes that is enough, even for a crucial result, even if it is of the nature that they gave the one-line key to the entire theory.

If you feel yourself that something more than acknowledgment is necessary (you feel their contribution to the primary result of the proof is substantial), then you might consider contacting those people directly to see if they want to be co-authors.

Those who are anonymous I feel give up any claims. Those who have their email one can immediately contact. It is those in the middle that may be problematic. Maybe the above statement can be rewritten to:

"Acknowledgments: Discussions with X and two anonymous readers were helpful in developing the ideas in this paper."

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    $\begingroup$ What about links to the relevant discussion? Should it be included? (had it not been a crucial part of the proof, or if it has some important insights?) $\endgroup$
    – Asaf Karagila Mod
    Commented Mar 29, 2011 at 9:59
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    $\begingroup$ @Asaf: Sure you could include them. There are many different style guide recommendations about how to give references to web resources. That might be a good separate meta discussion on what would the proper way to present a reference specifically to stackexchange (because there might be technical recommendations that are different than just a straight URL) $\endgroup$
    – Mitch
    Commented Mar 29, 2011 at 14:06
  • $\begingroup$ Personally, I would hesitate to include any links in any papers I submit for publication. A notable exception is in the bibliography for arxiv papers, but this is really the only time I can think of it being a good idea. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 31, 2011 at 8:28
  • $\begingroup$ @Glen: I agreee with our 'personally'; I prefer not to use links (even though this is the 21st century, links never seem very reliable). I think that's why I implicitly referred to 'Discussions' rather than explicit links in my main answer. But people -do- publish links in 'printed' papers, so it might be nice to have a standard for those people for stackexchange. $\endgroup$
    – Mitch
    Commented Mar 31, 2011 at 13:51
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    $\begingroup$ @Mitch: I agree with you, there do exist papers with links inside them :). I just wanted to say explicitly that I don't really like it, since Asaf mentioned it would be his first paper, and it would be a shame if he thought it was somehow "standard" to include links. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 31, 2011 at 18:04
  • $\begingroup$ @Glen: I did have the feeling it is weird to include links. However I figured that since I got the idea from MSE some rather explicit mentioning had to come up somewhere. $\endgroup$
    – Asaf Karagila Mod
    Commented Apr 1, 2011 at 18:15

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