Monday, November 08, 2010

Reference checking drinking game

Sip :
et al
et. al
et. al.
Inconsistent & vs. and.
Gratuitous references to common knowledge which you tracked down as a form of procrastination (e.g. Petri 1887).
Obvious misplaced fields in electronic database citation collection.
Commas instead of semicolons, or similar format errors.
Incnst. Abbrv.

Mixed formats in bibliography.
Autoformatting that undoes manual corrections.
Crummy old Xerox copies which cut off the journal information.
Bibliography references orphaned by aggressive cuts.
References missing from the bibliography because they are only listed in figure captions, which is a different file.
Subtle misplaced fields in electronic database citation collection (e.g. page and volume numbers switched).
Correcting a reference database error in the proof, without fixing the database.
References written in non-latin alphabets.

Drain the bottle:
Referenced papers you’ve never actually read.
My reference formatter is set up perfectly, I have no need to look at the output.
Software updates delete all the corrections you performed to your reference list.
Actually reading the referenced paper only to find that it actually says the opposite of what you inferred based on the way that other people referenced it.


Schlupp said...

"Actually reading the referenced paper only to find that it actually says the opposite of what you inferred based on the way that other people referenced it."

That one also features in the famous "journal reviewing drinking game".

Hypocentre said...

Referencing an easy to find / English language review article rather than hard to find / foreign language primary source?

C W Magee said...

I was always taught to reference what you read. So if you read the review article, reference that. If you slogged through the non-english paper, great. The only grey area for this rule is when you look at things like maps or figures in the original.

Looking back at my thesis (the last substantially non-english thing I worked on), all the Soviet papers I referenced the CIA translations, because that is what I read, while the portuguese field description papers I had to slog through since I didn't have translations, so those are referenced in portuguese.

Anonymous said...

I had a colleague back in the 80s who found a paper he liked and wanted to cite in a very large journal volume (a conference issue). He had the authors and the title but not the pages. After trying without success to find the paper again in the volume he finally gave up. To cite it he created fictional start and end pages.

This was initially a bit of an embarrassment, but then these fictional page numbers kept turning up in other papers for years after ...

C W Magee said...

You gotta be careful with fictitious references- I know esteemed senior academics who put people on their peer-review "always recommend rejection" lists for building reference chains to nowhere. Every now and then somebody will follow the entire reference tree back to its roots, and if they do that (e.g to find a method) only to determine that the thing being referenced isn't actually there, they generally aren't real pleased about having their time wasted. While adding more links in the chain does decrease the probability that it will get followed up, it also increases the anger of those who manage to do it.