Monday, November 15, 2010

Can't Cite This

In someone's blog a few months ago (Prodigal's? GMP's? I forget), there was a discussion about getting students to be better about citing articles when they prepare manuscripts. The problem was that someone's students were under-citing (e.g., they should have 50 references and they have 10).

This is not my problem.

In fact, this is so not my problem, I am utterly dying under a current journal's citation limitation. I cannot write a paper with only N citations. If anything, I'm an over-citer. Anytime I say anything even potentially contentious or isn't my idea, boom, citation. I once submitted a paper and one of the reviewers wrote, "Wow. I've never seen so many citations for a conference paper." That's me!

So with N citations, I am dying. I am scouring google scholar for good survey articles and books that have what I need, because it's just ridiculous I can't have, say N*3 citations. I have this secret desire to throw in N+2 citations just to see what the editor does. Particularly if those extra citations are from his own journal!

I understand why printed journals do this - space limitations, paper costs, etc. But I think citation limits ultimately engender plagiarism. I swear, I just wrote a sentence like, "Many people in the field of rubber duckery have found yellow ducks float better than evil, red ones by 10%." Yes, this is a fact, but it feels so disgusting to me to not have a citation after something like that, because it is not common knowledge.

Tonight I will have nightmares of my high school English teacher standing very tall over me, wearing a pilgrim hat, glaring and clucking her tongue.


  1. Screw paper journals. No limits for ejournals AND they let you use color figs!

  2. I definitely agree. I love the idea of ejournals and open access journals - they've really taken off in some fields. Sadly not mine, though. Really there are really no good journals in my field at all, paper or otherwise - we're all about the conferences!