Q: Is it okay to refer to a review article of some other person for writing a review article?

Detailed Question -

I'm writing a review article, but when I want to take some references I'm not getting quality references from a research article, but getting good references from the review articles of similar topics. So, is it acceptable to refer to a review article to write another review article?

1 Answer to this question

Thank you for your query! Many publishers do state that citations of original articles should be preferred over citations of review articles (for example: “more prominent citation of review articles, instead of original research papers, can obscure or bias the connectivity of the scientific literature (Nat. Cell Biol. 11, 1, 2009).”). This is also because the original article, and not the review, is the primary source of the information and is therefore a truer source for citation.

However, this also depends on the function of the citation in your paper. If the conclusions of the review in particular are relevant to the citation, the review is a better source than any individual article mentioned in the review you are citing.

If the source of your information is the original article that was part of the review, you can still cite the original source via the review, for example “Smith et al. 2000, reviewed in Jones et al. 2015”, although this should be done sparingly.

Finally, do note that these rules are usually not applied differently for original articles versus review articles—if the review you are citing was a good citation for the original article, it would be an equally good citation for the review article you are writing. Conversely, if you would be reluctant to cite the review in an original article, the same logic would apply to a review article.

I hope that this addresses the main points of your query; however, do weigh each review you wish to cite on its merits, and please include it if it is the best available citation for the point you wish to make.