Based on my experience with other stack exchanges, I assumed that the content that people take the time to write here, would be easily citable, and in fact when advertising our site to professional colleagues and senior academics, I seem to have made the mistake of mentioning that any content they spend time on providing, will have an automatically generated BibTeX entry created for people to cite their work, as in this case:

Unfortunately I did not notice until now, that this was not configured as the default option, similar to the case for MathJaX and syntax highlighting.

I also can't help but to notice that this answer by Etienne and improved by Martin, is almost at the quality level of a scientific publication in an academic journal:

enter image description here

For such a detailed body of work, it would be nice to be able to cite this answer in our own academic publications.

Therefore, I wonder if we could have this feature, which is already on some other SEs, be added. This is not only because I advertised our site (during Area51, and then again at the opening of Private Beta) as having BibTeX generated for each question and answer (sorry, I didn't know that not all cites have this!), but also because it helps encourage high-quality participation from our users, who tend to publish citable papers for a living (60% of our Area51 committers being academics, professionals, experts, or researchers)?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Hiya! Double checking, do you also want the tool built into the editor that helps you add citations into a post? You can see both of them on Math. $\endgroup$
    – Catija
    May 8, 2020 at 14:55
  • $\begingroup$ Hiya @Catija! Thank you for the response :) Certainly the "cite" button that generates BibTeX would be very much appreciated, I knew it was on other SEs and didn't notice that only some SEs have it, so I told people that their content could be cited, when asking them to commit. The screenshot in my question shows someone who put enough effort into their answer that it almost looks like a publication of its own (hence it would be nice if our SE user could easily be cited). The citations tool in the editor would also be helpful, as he put 15 citations in that answer and it would've made it easy! $\endgroup$ May 8, 2020 at 16:13
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Ah! Yeah, only about 6-7 sites have the citation tools active. :D Let me get a dev to poke those settings for y'all. $\endgroup$
    – Catija
    May 8, 2020 at 16:16
  • $\begingroup$ I see it was done! That was so fast !! $\endgroup$ May 8, 2020 at 16:20

2 Answers 2


I've had Adam switch on both the citation tool and the edit tool to help easily cite sources in your posts.

The latter looks like this:

image of post toolbar with the editor button to add citations to the post circled

  • $\begingroup$ Thank you so much @Catija !! $\endgroup$ May 8, 2020 at 18:01
  • $\begingroup$ I see that the edit tool, for which you showed a screenshot, is working for some of the mathematical journals on Materials Science, but not for the experimental journals on Materials Science. Basically any journal that contains content that is very mathematical, is working, but journals that are more computational or experimental do not show up in the search. Maybe this is because the tool was originally created for MathOverflow and the journals in the database are only Math journals? Could we give a list of journals we'd like to be able to search with the cite tool? $\endgroup$ Jun 5, 2020 at 3:18

This is a bit of context, and shouldn't take away from the general .

  • We asked for that on chemistry a while ago; they wanted proof that it will be used, see “Cite” link in Chem.SE?. We never followed up with it, I guess it wasn't that important to the Chemistry community.
  • On Academia.se this may be helpful for context: Attributing contributions to academic work that occur in Stack Exchange.
  • There is some more context regarding the underlying mechanics on mother meta: Citing Stack Overflow discussions.

  • Obviously, you can write your own app, see stackapps: How to obtain the bibtex item for a question with a program or HTTP request?

    You can access the context from the following prototype link:


    You can get POSTID from the share link.

    Using your example above,


    will give you a JSON object with the property bibtex, which should will give you something like that:

    @MISC {86,
    TITLE = {Where is the extended Hückel method (EHM) still used today?},
    AUTHOR = {etienne palos (https://materials.stackexchange.com/users/175/etienne-palos)},
    HOWPUBLISHED = {Materials Modeling Stack Exchange},
    NOTE = {URL:https://materials.stackexchange.com/q/86 (version: 2020-04-30)},
    EPRINT = {https://materials.stackexchange.com/q/86},
    URL = {https://materials.stackexchange.com/q/86}

    If all of you are happy enough with this format, then turn the feature on. For my taste, this still requires a lot of manual labour to get it into a usable format.


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