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.


When you paraphrase something, there is no rule that says every word you use must be different from the original. In other words, even though a phrase or sentence within your paraphrased text is identical to what the original author said, if you're already providing a reference that supports your overall statement, you don't need to put the identical part in quotation marks.

You should, however, give more of a citation than just the footnote or endnote number in this sentence. (However, if it is provided in the context of a preceding sentence, not seen in this particular sentence, that's okay.)

For example:

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

By referring to the citation, those people who are interested can determine exactly what Smith said.

Of course, specific style guides may also give different particular guidance.


This largely depends on the conventions of the academic field and/or the publisher’s stylesheet.

In some fields, the standard practice is to have a separate citation for every point that is based on an outside source, even when several such points, all taken from the same source, appear close to each other. If one is following such a practice in combination with the footnote/endnote method of citation, each citation would have its own number, with the first note providing the full bibliographical data, and the following ones using some abbreviated format (or ibid. if that is customary in the field).

In some other fields, it is generally acceptable to have a single citation at the end of a lengthy sentence or a group of sentences that are all based on the same source. Use of this method, however, requires that the writer be careful to present the materials in such a way that it will be obvious to the reader what the citation applies to.

The only advice that can be given to the OP is then to look at how other published materials in the same academic field, and in particular in the same academic journal, deal with this matter, and then follow their example. Also, whenever one is in doubt about whether one should cite, it is better to cite than not to cite: underciting may be regarded as a serious fault, while overciting is, at worst, a minor stylistic infelicity, which may be corrected by the copyeditor.

(Incidentally, the example in the question is somewhat confusing, because its second part is not presented as a quotation, and yet the beginning of the question refers only to quotations and does not mention paraphrases.)

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