If a question pops up which is answered by a theorem inside some paper I’ve refereed that isn’t in print yet, is it appropriate to answer the question and cite the (presumably) forthcoming paper or should I contact the authors and offer them the opportunity to answer/wait until it’s published then answer and cite the official publication?

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    $\begingroup$ Is the preprint on the arXiv? $\endgroup$
    – Todd Trimble Mod
    Commented Oct 3, 2018 at 10:47
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    $\begingroup$ When sent to you for refereeing, the manuscript should be considered confidential. If the preprint is available for some other reason, then go ahead and cite it. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 3, 2018 at 12:21
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    $\begingroup$ You can probably find a bunch of somewhat related questions on Academia. For example: May I discuss a paper I have only seen as a referee? or How to use results/ideas from a paper I reviewed? $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 3, 2018 at 13:04
  • $\begingroup$ @ToddTrimble This was asked out of general concern rather than a specific case, but the arXiv does seem like a good barometer. $\endgroup$
    – Alec Rhea
    Commented Oct 3, 2018 at 15:32
  • $\begingroup$ @GeraldEdgar Got it, much appreciated. $\endgroup$
    – Alec Rhea
    Commented Oct 3, 2018 at 15:32
  • $\begingroup$ @MartinSleziak Thanks for the links, I'll snoop around over there next time I have a question of this nature. $\endgroup$
    – Alec Rhea
    Commented Oct 3, 2018 at 15:33
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    $\begingroup$ Note that now it's easy to deduce you are the referee, even if you refer to the arxiv version. :) $\endgroup$
    – Asaf Karagila Mod
    Commented Oct 3, 2018 at 18:54
  • $\begingroup$ @AsafKaragila I'll be holding my tongue (or fingers as it were) on this one regardless, but good call. :) $\endgroup$
    – Alec Rhea
    Commented Oct 4, 2018 at 23:09


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