Improving Scientific Communication by Altering Citation and Referencing Methods

Lee Ellis


This article argues that scientific communication can be improved by changing citation and referencing methods in three specific ways. First, include page numbers (or table or figure numbers) in citing sources much more often than is the current practice. Doing so will make it easier to confirm information cited and substantially reduce attribution errors. Twelve specific examples of attribution errors are provided as a way of documenting the need for greater precision in citing sources. Second, make clearer to readers the nature of what is being cited. This can be done by using specific symbols to classify nearly all scientific publications into one of the following three categories: (a) original research, (b) reviews or meta-analyses, or (c) predominantly argumentative or theoretical proposals. Third, the length of the average scientific article can be substantially reduced without losing any ability to document by replacing the conventional citing/referencing method with a method that allows readers to go directly from each citation to the actual referenced material in Google Scholar or Microsoft Academic. Guidelines for this new method are offered. 

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Copyright (c) 2022 Lee Ellis

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Journal of Social Science Studies ISSN 2329-9150

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