I am reviewing a research paper. In the reference section of the paper, the authors have mentioned two previous works that are based on the same topic:

  1. Author X, Author Y, Author Z, "Topic_Name" appeared at ABC conference 2020.
  2. Author P, Author Q, Author R, "Topic_Name" appeared at MNO conference 2020.

In the introduction section, the authors used the following sentence:

"Author X and Author P [1,2] began the study of the Topic_Name."

They did not use "et al." when using this statement. Is this allowed? since it looks as if Author X and Author P are the only authors and they worked in collaboration to study the topic.

1 Answer 1


These conventions and style will depend on the venue (journal or edited volume). In my field, it is necessary to always acknowledge that there are multiple authors for a given work when referencing it inline. The two primary options I know are:

  • et alia (et al.) meaning "and others" Example: Author X et al. and Author P et al.
  • "and colleagues" Example: Author X and colleagues as well as Author P and colleagues.

If et al. is appropriate for the venue, it is probably thriftier expression when dealing with consecutive multi-authored works as is the case in your example. As a reviewer, you may simply suggest to the author that they rephrase acknowledgement of multi-authorship using the conventions of the venue. The manuscript author can then either look in the venue for examples or consult with the editor if questions persist.

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