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Should you still apply the rule that there is a space after the comma, or is it an accepted practice to omit the space in this case?

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What citation style does your discipline use? The syntactic conventions and rules vary among them. – batpigandme May 18 '13 at 11:06
up vote 5 down vote accepted

This is strictly a style manual question.

Check with the publisher of your paper. If it's a university (your MS thesis or PhD dissertation), you'll have to follow the university's style rules. If it's an academic journal, it'll either dictate a standard style manual, like the CBE or APA, or else the publisher's style manual. You'll have to follow the style manual's rules, not your gut or anyone else's advice, about this.

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The user21497's answer is technically correct, but I'm not aware of any style manual that would allow skipping a space after comma. If you list numbers, then skipping spaces is especially problematic because in some European countries comma is used in place of the decimal point; i.e. in Germany or Russia 1,5 means 1.5 as in "one point five."

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References are integral. A reference number will not have fractional parts. There is no risk of ambiguity. – Dan Bron Nov 16 '15 at 14:36
Some weird guy may have references like [5.1] and [5.2] for the two editions of [5] ??? – GEdgar Nov 16 '15 at 15:02

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