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Citing Encyclopedia Articles

Our encyclopedia articles are suitable for being cited, for example in scientific publications:

  • High quality content: They are not peer-reviewed, but authored by a trustworthy expert and – similar to some much appreciated monograph books – nevertheless are highly useful for scientific research. Continuous improvement belongs to the main pillars of reaching that high quality and keeping the content up to date.
  • Open access: Our encyclopedia embraces the principle of open knowledge. Every article is freely accessible, democratizing information for researchers, students, and professionals alike.
  • Permanent availability: Each article is assigned a DOI (Digital Object Identifier), underscoring our commitment to permanent accessibility. This feature ensures that the content you cite today remains available and verifiable for future researchers.

In contrast to journal articles, the encyclopedia articles are not immutable. That aspect is not only negative; rather, it allows the author to continuously improve the content. We just recommend that you include the access date (retrieval date) in your citation.

In fact, you should cite such an encyclopedia article in many cases:

  • Adherence to publication ethics: Citing relevant articles is a best practice and also an ethical obligation. When an article from our encyclopedia significantly informs your research, acknowledging it in your citations is essential to maintain scholarly integrity and avoid plagiarism.
  • Enhancing the usefulness for your readers: Including citations to our articles can significantly aid the readers of your paper, offering them a pathway to additional, detailed information. Your citation thus contributes to the broader scientific community by facilitating access to comprehensive resources.

How to Cite

We are sometimes asked how the encyclopedia articles can be cited. This depends on whether you want to cite the online version or the (rather old) print version:

Online Version

Instead of the normal page URL, we recommend using the DOI link which you can find in the box just below the article heading. We also do that in the following. Advantages are permanent accessibility and other beneficial effects in the Crossref system, namely concerning the Cite-by feature.

When you cite an online encyclopedia article in an electronic document (e.g., on a website), the citation may e.g. look like this:

R. Paschotta, article on 'optical heterodyne detection' in the RP Photonics Encyclopedia, retrieved 2024-07-23

(Note that in 03/2019 the online version has been renamed to “RP Photonics Encyclopedia”, and that name should now always be used.)

The corresponding html code (ready for copy/paste):

R. Paschotta, article on '<a href="https://doi.org/10.61835/79k">optical heterodyne detection</a>' in the <a href="https://doi.org/10.61835/enc">RP Photonics Encyclopedia</a>, retrieved 2024-07-23

Code for generating an external link in Wikipedia:

== External links ==

* [https://doi.org/10.61835/79k article on 'optical heterodyne detection' in the RP Photonics Encyclopedia]

When you cite an online encyclopedia article in a book, the citation may e.g. look like this:

R. Paschotta, article on 'optical heterodyne detection' in the RP Photonics Encyclopedia, https://doi.org/10.61835/79k, retrieved 2024-07-23

Many researchers use citation databases such as EndNote or BibTex. For them, it is highly convenient to use our “Get citation link” buttons in the box under each article heading: with those, one can extract the complete citation information for direct import into the own database. Two more such buttons do that for plain text, as needed e.g. for text files, and for HTML files (with web links).

An example for a proper citation:

R. Paschotta, article on optical heterodyne detection in the Encyclopedia of Laser Physics and Technology, 1. edition October 2008, Wiley-VCH, ISBN 978-3-527-40828-3

Of course, the style of the citation may somewhat differ depending on rules of the publisher, for example.

Note that many articles of the online version are not yet contained in the print version, and the online version contains updated articles.

Better Cite the Online Version or the Print Version?

Citing the online version has several advantages:

  • A citation on a website or in another type of electronic document can contain a link, which allows the reader to check the cited article immediately.
  • The latest version of the article is available; it may have revisions which improve it over the version in the printed encyclopedia.
  • You do not need to have access to the print version, but only to the Internet.

On the other hand, a limitation is that an online article may be changed later on with your knowledge, or potentially even be removed. These concerns are not very serious, however:

  • The RP Photonics Encyclopedia is expected to stay online permanently.
  • We nearly never remove an article; at most, we would modify the article keyword, and in that case install an automatic redirection to the new article.
  • The date of last revision is not published, and would indeed not be very meaningful, as some revisions are substantial, whereas others may be insignificant (e.g., changing only a single word). Instead of the date of last revision, you can simply state the date when you accessed the article.