Ad nauseam citation: deficiency of contemporary academia

Citation. You always hear this world if you are in academia. Citation became an accompanying sign of a quality and trustworthy paper. The vaster your reference list is, the more valuable your piece of writing is, apparently. Some researchers abuse the right to cite other authors and, thus, produce papers the benefit of which could be questioned. Personally, I find articles with 4-6 citations in one paragraph less credible and devoid of the author’s voice. Overuse of citations could harm development of young researcher’s skills and tell about author’s inability to comprehend the paper thoroughly.

Contemporary researchers fear that overuse of citations may lead to “erosion of scholarly rigor” (Pierce, 2010, para. 3). One of the reasons to that is superficial attitude of some researchers who do not study papers in-depth. It prevents researchers from applying their critical and analytical skills and producing a worthwhile work. Ideally, if someone cites one work that automatically means he/she has read that work meticulously paying close attention to the main arguments. Thus, citing someone entails certain responsibilities. Useful tip to overcome this challenge would be to dedicate sufficient amount of time and do the work qualitatively.

Works saturated with citations could be a signal that writer is incapable of adding his new personal idea or opinion. Yes, sometimes other works can serve as a base for new opinions to emerge. That is totally fine. But we need to evaluate the article first and ensure that the paper is reliable and fundamental. Incorporation of one’s opinion in his/her work might at first be challenging, but practice is the best assistant in this laborious task.

Pierce (2010) discloses a curious statistics that “random samples of research articles published in the American Journal of Physiology reveal that the number of papers per bibliography averaged approximately 29 in 1989, 37 in 1999, and 42 in 2009” (para. 3). In your opinion, what are the reasons behind that tendency of ample use of citation?

Nowadays there are some journals which limit the number of sources one used in his/her paper. I partially support this policy and believe people must be more accountable for the sources they claim to have used to produce the paper. Do you agree with this policy? How can we enhance the quality of the papers while using less or more citation?


Pearce, W. (August 1, 2010).  Citations: Too Many, or Not Enough? TheScientist.

Retrieved from          articles.view/articleNo/29170/title/Citations–Too-Many–or-Not-Enough-/


One thought on “Ad nauseam citation: deficiency of contemporary academia

  1. Fascinating and original topic, Lenera. (5/5) I certainly agree with you that we have a responsibility to cite fairly and with care. However, I see the large number of citations to be an overall good thing, especially in a literature review. If I am writing about improving research competence in graduate students, and I only cite one or two sources, I am only basing my view on one or two views or sets of evidence. By reading widely, the goal is to develop a broader, and more nuanced, view of the topic. A literature review that cites two previous studies, and then says more research is needed, may be neglecting many other publications that should be considered before designing a new study. I agree with you that there may be a problem with over-citing, when associated with a lack of careful reading of those texts. But I also think there has been an explosion of new research in the last few decades, and so there is more information (both reliable and unreliable!) out there available to cite. We certainly have a difficult task ahead of us. What do others think?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s