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How can I discover the originality of a field of research or a sub-field of research without divulging the particulars? I am proving some interesting results in a potentially new sub-field of convex analysis. How can I know if 1) the field is original or at least relatively unexplored and 2) the results themselves are original?

Again, I do not want to tell the specific components of it before I have developed it more. And if it is an already existing field I do not want to "re-prove" results.

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closed as too localized by t.b., lhf, Henning Makholm, J. M., Srivatsan Dec 14 '11 at 4:04

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search the literature, ask experts in the field. –  yoyo Dec 13 '11 at 21:30
    
This question is probably more appropriate for MO. –  Peteris Dec 13 '11 at 21:33
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@Peteris: I disagree. This is not a question of interest to research mathematicians. They know whom to ask or how to find out otherwise... –  t.b. Dec 13 '11 at 21:35
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There is nothing wrong in re-proving things! –  AD. Dec 13 '11 at 21:44
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@Peteris, I suspect this question would be closed in a nanosecond on MO. –  Gerry Myerson Dec 13 '11 at 21:49
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up vote 7 down vote accepted

An integral part of research is, to know the current status of your field. That is, know the literature and the latest results.

To achieve that, read recent monographs, review articles and other articles related to your results. Check, if anything else like your results has been published. To find these, I recommend MathSciNet (if available at your institution). There, you can find the works you build on and check the works that cited these. This allows you to easliy work forward and backward in time. However, to have decent knowledge of the literature is quite some work... But its essential.

And of course, as yoyo said, ask experts in the field.

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I'd also specifically recommend searching arxiv.org/archive/math –  Gerry Myerson Dec 13 '11 at 21:53
    
Or CiteSeer.$\phantom{}$ –  J. M. Dec 14 '11 at 3:35
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How can I discover the originality of a field of research or a sub-field of research without divulging the particulars?

Again, I do not want to tell the specific components of it before I have developed it more.

"Don't worry about people stealing an idea. If it's original, you will have to ram it down their throats."

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