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Private communication (as a reference)

  1. Oct 8, 2011 #1

    f95toli

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    I have a question about the correct way to write a reference to a private communication.
    The other day I was making some corrections in the proof of an article that will soon be published. One of the questions/comments from the editors office was that regarding a referenfce to a private communication (an e-mail). The reference was written

    Ref. XY F. Surname ,private communication.

    which is usually fine (I try to avoid references to private communications, but sometimes it can't be helped).

    Hower, this editor wanted me to add the date (of the e-mail).

    I this a convention? I've never come across it before.

    The paper will be published in an AIP physics journal, if that makes a difference.

    btw, sorry if this is the wrong subforum. I wasn't sure where to put it.
     
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  3. Oct 8, 2011 #2

    Astronuc

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    Last edited: Oct 8, 2011
  4. Oct 8, 2011 #3
    The question opens an interesting can of neutrinos for biographers and historians. How can they substantiate a quote from an e-mail or text message?
     
  5. Oct 8, 2011 #4

    Astronuc

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    I believe the reference to 'private communication' is in conjunction with a scientific paper. It would be customary for an author to receive permission from those with whom he/she communication to use the comment. The 'private communication' citation is an attribution to the person cited. Others may then contact those cited and ask for further information. Such information may not be [yet] disclosed in journals or printed literature. Problems arise if the cited person is/becomes deceased.
     
  6. Oct 8, 2011 #5

    f95toli

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    Yes, I now know that it is part of the AIP style. However, I was more interested in knowing whether or not this is the norm. I've used references to private communications once or twice before (as I said, I try to avoid them, for reasons already listed by zoobyshoe and Astronuc) and I am pretty sure I did not include a date then (although I have to check to see where those papers were published, they might have been conference papers).

    Also, I've certainly seen quite a few references without a date; so my question is what is considered "correct"? Does it just depend on the publisher?

    Btw, in this case the private communication refered to a techincal fact (not very important, including it was just our attempt to prevent a referee from commenting on it) that seems to be "common knowledge" among people using the experimental method I used for I particular result (which I only started using about a year ago); the problem it is a small community and there are no real textbooks or even review papers. However, the guy I refered to is very well known in the field, and is as it happens actually working on a textbook which will contain this fact. Hence, it was the best I could do.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2011
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