Citations: If We Had A Chance To Do It All Over Again

I have been working on a report that is to include citations.  I am more of a big picture person and citations seem very detailed and finicky.   They slow down the whole writing thing. 

Citations a.k.a. references may appear in much of what you read-particularly if what you read is in academic areas, in research studies or professional journals.  References cite a source, a paper, a study, a book or another author and they tell the reader that the comment or idea or fact came from somewhere else.   You can even cite yourself if you’ve written and published something beforehand and wish to reference it in an article.   It’s really giving credit where credit is due.  The area of copyright is right up there with citation.  If it’s someone else’s work, art, image, idea, music originally then there is likely copyright to consider.  

My knowledge of citations and references is limited .  One could say it is more like a poor understanding or conversely one could say I am unencumbered by knowledge and able to look at things in a new light.  And it is in this new light that I offer up the following thoughts on citations.  If we were going to do this all over again and I was the President and CEO of Citation in the World Inc, there would be two levels of citation and you would choose your desired level before you write the article.

Level I:  Game changer

Criteria:  This article/research/report will make a huge difference to mankind. An example would be the discovery of the Higgs boson particle.  

Requesting this level would be very expensive.  You’d pay a large fee to Citation of the World Inc.  The author(s) must follow the academically sanctioned format for citations.   Permissions for copyrights must be requested and granted.  All citations will be checked and sources will be verified by Citation of the World Inc. (to justify the large fee).

Level II-Everything else. 

Criteria: This article/research/report will add (we hope) to a body of knowledge, perhaps lead to some action.  Oh, and when it’s published and I can add it to my resume! 

There would be no charge for requesting this level.  Instead of citations, there would be a standard disclaimer at the end of the article or report.  It would read:  I read a lot of background and research when I was writing this work.  I used the stuff that was relevant and good and the rest, while mostly interesting, didn’t make the grade.  I thank those people whose work has been used here.  If you are interested in knowing who they are and which work of theirs I used, give me a call.  I have it all written down on a piece of paper.  It’s not in any special format though.  

8 thoughts on “Citations: If We Had A Chance To Do It All Over Again

    1. And I guess since I invented the level then I’d really not be able to say much about that, would I. Though I’m starting to see a bit more how one might like to get credit for an original thought. Maybe I should have spent a bit more time at the drawing board on this Level thing.

  1. I guess there kind of are two levels like that, but they’re drawn according to audience instead of importance. Audience people in your field who call you out on what’s not yours? Cite the heck out of it. Audience general public? “I read a lot of background and research when I was writing this work…”

    1. Ah, that was a little cynical of me. I don’t think it’s that the people would call you out—it’s more likely that they would want to know and even use your sources for their own work, so you’d be getting a lot of phone calls from people making you look at your piece of paper!!!

      1. I think we are getting somewhere now. But how do you know which audience you will have before you actually put the article out there. i.e. the audience who will want to know your sources and the audience who really is just fine to read the stuff as is.

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