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When writing a thesis, is it acceptable practice to cite only the URL of referenced research papers where they are published electronically? Or is it compulsory to give proper authors, title, year of publication, etc... information?

Example:

Data mining is the process of analyzing large data sets in order to discover hidden patterns within these data sets.[1] Stock market prices do not follow random walk.[2]

[1] http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=5FIEAwyn9aoC

[2] http://rfs.oxfordjournals.org/content/1/1/41.short

1 Answer 1

No, it is clearly and everyone agrees, not acceptable practice to cite only the URL. So download a PDF copy of the exact web page. You can even state in the publication that you have a copy of the exact PDF which corresponds with your reference. If anyone asks you for sa copy of the PDF, you may wish to do one of the following:

  1. Immediately give them the pdf (which may be a license violation). I feel comfortable to do this, in some situations, but not all.

or

  1. Tell them you would like to give them your saved copy, after they convince you, that the web site will allow you to give them a copy.

It is not your problem, if the web site will not give you permission, to give others a copy of the saved PDF. However a license violation would be your fault.