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I am writing a paper that relies heavily upon some important work done some 10 years ago. The paper was well received gathering well over a 100 citations and is a must mention within my niche field. I would like to reference the paper as seminal as in "so and so, et. al., in a seminal paper..." but am not sure that would be appropriate. I recognize 100 citations isn't a lot in the scheme of things but at the same time this paper was very important within my niche field.

Under what circumstances can one decide a paper is seminal? Must the person citing it be well renowned? Must the author of the considered paper be well renowned? Is there a citation # that should be exceeded (I really don't like that one, it seems too inflexible)?

Neither I nor my professor are especially well established in the field we are publishing in (this will be my first publication and my professor mainly publishes in another field). Are we qualified to refer to a publication in this field as "seminal"?

1 Answer 1

I have learned one thing how to identify a seminal work is using Google Scholar search engine result showing that the article is cited by another author(s) to support the insights or theories of study. For example, Halperin (2017) uses the social theory within the study employing the structuration theory of Giddens (1984).


Halperin, R. (2017). Learning practice and technology: Extending the structurational practice lens to educational technology research. Learning, Media and Technology, 42(3), 279-294. doi:10.1080/17439884.2016.1182925

Giddens, A. (1984). The constitution of society: Outline of the theory of structuration.