IEEE Referencing: Unpublished material

Basic information about referencing unpublished material

  • The two most common types of unpublished references are private communications and papers still in preparation.
  • Private Communications include private letters, memos, emails, personal interviews, telephone conversations, and similar resources.
  • As the private communication may not provide recoverable data, the private communication may be cited in-text only. 
  • If citing your private communication in-text only, provide the initials as well as the surname of the communicator, along with as exact date of communication as possible.
  • Private Communication with recoverable, accessible data is recommended to be provided in the Reference List.
  • Use your judgment in citing other electronic forms, like Twitter or SMS Texts, as Private Communications. Remember that what you cite should have scholarly relevance.

Basic format to reference a private communication

[#]  Author(s) Initial(s). Surname, private communication, Abbrev. Month. Year.

Referencing elements to cite:

  • [#] Reference number (matching the in-text citation number)
  • Author(s) name
  • private communication
  • Abbreviated month and year or correspondence

[1]    H. Shi, private communication, Apr. 2022. 

Basic format to reference a paper still in preparation

[#]  Author(s) Initial(s). Surname, “Title of paper,” unpublished (if applicable), Abbrev. Month. Year (if applicable), available: site/path/file (if applicable).

Referencing elements to cite:

  • [#] Reference number (matching the in-text citation number)
  • Author(s) name
  • Title of paper, in double quotation marks
  • unpublished (if applicable, for completely unpublished papers. If a paper has been published on, for example, the arXiv.org repository of electronic preprints, then you may omit to provide the word 'unpublished'
  • Abbreviated month and year of correspondence (if applicable)
  • available: site/path/file (if applicable)

[2]    P. Peidaee “Australia's smart grid future,” unpublished.

[3]    X. Xu, M. Wu, K. Yu, "Comprehensive survey of automated audio captioning," May 2022, arXiv:2205.05357.

 

Referencing unpublished material: Examples

Material type In-text example Reference List example
Email                           An email (R. Van Staden, private communication, Sept. 2, 2021) confirming that the results are accurate also reaffirms the view that ... You do not need to include an entry in the Reference List.
Interview During an interview conducted on Oct. 11, 2022, Professor Adam Shoemaker, Vice-Chancellor, Victoria University, confirmed the increase of …
OR
The Vice-Chancellor's statement was acknowledged during an interview (A. Shoemaker, Vice-Chancellor, Victoria University, private communication, Oct.11, 2021).

You do not need to include an entry in the Reference List.

This example is about referencing information from an interview that you have conducted. 

 Letter In a letter dated October 17, 2021, Amir Ghapanchi stated that ...
OR
Amir Ghapanchi expressed understanding in his letter (private communication, Oct.17, 2021) ...
You do not need to include an entry in the Reference List.
Telephone call During a phone interview conducted on June 12, 2021, Assoc. Professor Paul Joseph established that ...
OR
The Professor's statement was confirmed during a phone interview (A. McAndrew, private communication, Jul. 21, 2021).
You do not need to include an entry in the Reference List.
Paper in progress In an unpublished paper: "Artificial intelligence for image processing,” the author Hao Shi draws a distinction between ... [5]   H. Shi, “Artificial intelligence for image processing,” unpublished. 
Paper in progress available in a repository Automated audio captioning [6] generates ... [6]   X. Mei, X. Liu, M.D. Plumbley, W. Wang, “Automated audio captioning: an overview of recent progress and new challenges,” May 12, 2022, arXiv:2205.05949.