Scientific Citation Markup

Citations in scientific papers are the basic ingredient to compute impact factors and eigenfactors of scientific journals. The number of citations a publications receives in the course of time is the most neutral and accepted criteria for its relevance. Thus, the number of citations a paper receives is very important for the careers of its author.

Everybody who reads or writes scientific papers knows that a citation may have very different meanings which do not always coincide with the interpretation of “pointing to relevance”, as implied by the above uses. Further on, every scientist knows that the motivations of citing a paper are not always driven by pure scientific reasons.

Ideally, all these differences in citations could be incorporated in a scientific citation markup like \cite[markup]{RefKeyForPaper} (in LaTeX citation style) or the like.
Some ideas:

\cite[community feeling]{PopularPaperWithNoSpecificRelation}
\cite[please journal editor]{AnyPaperOfEditor}
\cite[enforced by a referee]{SuggestedPaper}
\cite[proof or evidence elsewhere]{TechnicalPaper}
(The latter can be used to (i) avoid redundancy in the literature, (ii) save space, or (iii) to obfuscate that there is none. (iii) is prominent in physics as a citation with a reference to an own paper which is “to appear”)

Imagine, what more sophisticated profiles of papers, journals and scientists one could create with it …

3 thoughts on “Scientific Citation Markup

    1. janlo Post author

      Of course part of it is venting, but distinguishing “positive” vs. “negative” and “building upon” vs. “somehow related” citations would be great. This is not just venting but serious. The next question is, if the mark-up can be left to the author. Probably not without running in the same possible misuse and misinterpretation of citations.

  1. agge

    it’a good idea, can’t imagine where to start to get it implemented. I always feel a bit guilty clicking the ‘sort by number of citatations’ button when I start researching something, using the system I tend to critisise. If it was a bit more sofisticated i would probably feel better about it.

    Ideally, there would be an indipendent party, classifying all citations, but there are better things funding could be used for than a citation commitee. An online social network could do it, but I don’t know how well that would go down with the scientific community…


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