I understand you should always follow a quotation with a citation in academic writing, but how close together can two of the same citations be? Here is the sentence in question:

“BitTorrent traffic accounts for 18% of all internet traffic”, [3] two thirds of which is estimated to be illegally distributed copyrighted material. [3]

Should I even include the second citation? It also comes from the cited source, but having two identical citations so close looks clumsy.


2 Answers 2


So why is the first half of that sentence a quote and the second half your paraphrase? That's the part that seems odd to me. I would either make it all a quote (using ... to indicate that you left out words or more material, or using [] to put in clarifying words that weren't in the original quote) or make it all a paraphrase.

My preference would be to see it all be in your own words. Why? Because these are simple facts. There may be different numbers out there so the exact numbers you use might be disputed. But it's not an opinion really, and it's not anything you need to quote.

In either case, either use a footnote for the citation for the entire sentence, or use a combo of a footnote plus words in the text.

For example:

BitTorrent traffic accounts for 18% of all internet traffic, two thirds of which is estimated to be illegally distributed copyrighted material.[3]


Maria Gomez estimates that 18% of all internet traffic comes from BitTorrent. And that two thirds of that is illegally distributed copyrighted material.[3]

In both cases: [3] Gomez, M. (2018). BitTorrent Statistics. Journal of Internet Trivia, Vol. 9 (4), pp. 105-116.

While you don't have to name the fictional Gomez, I like the active voice version much better.


Eliminate the FIRST citation, it doesn't make a difference that it is quoted. You have a single sentence, the second [3] is enough for the whole sentence.

Further, you do not need to quote the first part, it is a statement of fact not an opinion you need to distance yourself from.

If you decide to break this into two consecutive sentences, then you cite the first [3], and the second [ibid]. "ibid" means in the same (last cited) source; it is proper even though it takes up more space than [3].

If the sentences are NOT consecutive, and are separated by your own prose, then cite them both as [3].

  • 1
    "Ibid" should go in the footnotes or endnotes itself, not in the main text.
    – Cyn
    Oct 28, 2018 at 23:23
  • @Cyn I haven't used it myself (I'd combine the statements), but I've seen "ibid" in text before. But obviously that could be an error that escaped scrutiny. If you can point me at a rule, I'll take it out of my answer.
    – Amadeus
    Oct 29, 2018 at 10:54
  • The reason I said it is because of where your citation is. Ibid is a citation. If you're putting the citation directly into the text (between parenthesis or square brackets) then an ibid would go there too. But if you're just using numbers in the text, you wouldn't take out one of the numbers to put ibid. With numbers you can use different numbers and then give an ibid (perhaps with a different page number ref). Or you can use the same number to refer to the same citation like wikipedia does. Here's a link to the basic rules. writing.wisc.edu/Handbook/DocChicago_Notes_Shortened.html
    – Cyn
    Oct 29, 2018 at 16:17

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