If CV sets up my model for me/verifies my model and my department's statistician agrees with the model after the fact, wouldn't it be fair to credit CV and the statistician in the manuscript?

Would including a simple "We would like to thank the people at Cross Validated (Stackexchange) and the statisticians at department X for their help" be discrediting to my paper? Or is this normal practice? I'm just not sure!

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    $\begingroup$ I heard of people being forced by supervisors to replace any of the publications available on the Internet with "reliable" and "serious" paywalled journal articles and expensive handbooks, to sound more distinguished. This kind of nonsense makes people leave the academia. I'd totally do it if I were you, but can't tell on "what others may think". $\endgroup$
    – Tim
    Feb 6, 2020 at 22:48
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    $\begingroup$ Yes, it would be fair and not at all silly. The fact you used a (potentially) anonymous helping hand does not mean you cheated. It means you know how research the Internet, ask for help and explain a complex problem and incorporate that help to your own work. You might want to see the Math.SE.Meta threads Do I cite Mathematics Stack Exchange in my thesis/paper? and Papers that originated on math.SE for a bit more context. $\endgroup$
    – usεr11852
    Feb 7, 2020 at 2:35
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    $\begingroup$ Wanting to acknowledge sources of information, ideas and support is always admirable. But the wording "CV sets up my model for me/verifies my model" does not fit the facts. Individuals posting separately make suggestions or discuss your work. That's the essence. There is no collective entity with a group mind otherwise. If I were a reviewer seeing a statement that CV endorsed your work, I would want you to rewrite it. $\endgroup$
    – Nick Cox
    Feb 7, 2020 at 8:47
  • $\begingroup$ @NickCox would you suggest naming the individual users on CV that contributed instead? $\endgroup$
    – Paze
    Feb 7, 2020 at 11:11
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    $\begingroup$ Reviewers and editors differ and journals may or may not have rules on this. I've seen comments that crediting unnamed individuals is pointless or at least not a good use of space. Conversely, if advice was really valuable, then there is an argument for not just naming the person(s), but giving URL(s) for the post(s), but journals will differ mightily in how far that is allowed. $\endgroup$
    – Nick Cox
    Feb 7, 2020 at 11:54
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    $\begingroup$ I cited a thread on mathematics stack exchange in my PhD thesis, including the username of the user who helped me. As a bonus they used their real name as their username. It might have sounded a bit odd thanking dragonslayer27xx for their help explaining near epoch dependence... $\endgroup$ Feb 10, 2020 at 22:18
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    $\begingroup$ In the case of odd user names, it might be fair to cite a user according to their system-ID rather than their display-name. For example, while my alias is currently "Nat", clicking for my profile leads to https://stats.meta.stackexchange.com/users/143653/nat, where it can be seen that I'm User-143653. Both references are equivalent in the quality of identifying this account at the moment, however for most users, the system-ID is probably more immutable and less likely to collide (and thus a more reliable reference) than their display-name. $\endgroup$
    – Nat
    Feb 11, 2020 at 7:11
  • $\begingroup$ Actually, looks like there are identifier-collisions with my current display-name (e.g., 1; 2). $\endgroup$
    – Nat
    Feb 11, 2020 at 7:21
  • $\begingroup$ Contra @NickCox, I might acknowledge "the CV community" or something if a thread with multiple posters (via multiple answers, comments, etc) answers a question; individual names would better if there's only one or two relevant posts. $\endgroup$ Feb 12, 2020 at 23:56
  • $\begingroup$ I have quoted CV members by name in documentation of my programs, where I have control of what I say. But I have often seen the reverse argument from people pointing out that they don’t use their real names because they don’t care about, or even seek to avoid, public recognition. People are different. $\endgroup$
    – Nick Cox
    Feb 13, 2020 at 0:58
  • $\begingroup$ Paze, lovely question. I just want to plug that the acknowledgements section seems spot on for where—absent editorial guidelines to the contrary—to do so in an academic journal. Also: if it helps bolster making the case in a particular circumstance, you might approach a CV user, request chat or email correspondence, and develop a "personal communication" in support of this kind of acknowledgement (of course, there are sometimes editorial guidelines against citing personal communications, so YMMV :). $\endgroup$
    – Alexis
    Mar 1, 2020 at 16:57

1 Answer 1


Yes, please: if a CV thread helps you in a non-trivial way, then do acknowledge it. It's polite towards the participants at that thread, and it may even put CV on a few people's radar. And it's always better than just saying that "it's a standard result that XYZ" - if it was sufficiently nonstandard for you to look it up or ask about at CV, then the same may apply to your readers.

I have cited CV threads in a couple recent papers. Sometimes, I'll cite an answer to a specific question I posted. Sometimes, I'll ask and self-answer standard calculations so I can refer to them in the future. And I don't think I have ever cited a thread that I was not personally involved in, but if that was helpful, I'll happily cite that, too.

There is a little "cite" link underneath each question, which will give you a nice BibTeX entry for your citation.

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    $\begingroup$ Thank you. I did acknowledge CV in my recently submitted manuscript. We'll see if they comment on it. $\endgroup$
    – Paze
    Mar 5, 2020 at 8:30
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    $\begingroup$ It was accepted, so now CV has a bit of exposure in the field of neurosurgery :) I will continue to cite CV in my manuscripts for as long as I receive the quality of assistance as I have thus far. $\endgroup$
    – Paze
    Mar 10, 2020 at 20:15

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