Safer MA, Tang R, The Psychology of Referencing in Psychology Journal Articles
Perspective on Psychological Science 2009;4(1):51-53
How important is citation in research papers? Forty nine psychology empirical articles randomly selected were submitted for ratings to their authors (psycyhologists) with regards to the importance of references in their own work. A scale of 1 (slightly important) to 7 (absolutely important) was used. Location of references (“method”, “results”, “discussion section”), citation frequencies, citation length, reasons for citations and depth were also examined. In addition, the weight of personal citation compared to citation of works of others, citation for credibility, appearance rather than substance, self-citations in relation to location and frequency were also taken into account. The study suggests that a more complete evaluation of citation metadata (frequency, location, treatment, etc;) as opposed to a mere statistic citation of references would give more information to the user in view of the fact that citation itself has a relevance within the construct of a scientific paper.