Citation and its Predominant Role in Scholarly Publishing

Citation and its Predominant Role in Scholarly Publishing

Kanu Priya
Kanu Priya
Source: Wikimedia Commons


The importance of citing sources in writing has been a subject of debate for many years. Since the birth of the Internet, there have been several claims that Internet/online citations are unnecessary or should be minimized, but many experts have challenged these claims. Citations are important for readers because they provide context to the information you present. In this paper, key characteristics of citations are presented with topics including the plus points of citing as well as some negatives. Light has also been shed on important topics like citation impact and the impact factor. Citing sources is not only about being "right" (although it can be) but also about being more credible.


“A citation is a reference to a source. More precisely, a citation is an abbreviated alphanumeric expression embedded in the body of an intellectual work that denotes an entry in the bibliographic references section of the work for the purpose of acknowledging the relevance of the works of others to the topic of discussion at the spot where the citation appears.”

It ensures that your readers will have easy access to these sources again, including the information about the author.

It’s also your way of giving credit where it is due. Not providing a citation could result in fines for both yourself and the original author. “Citations” seem like an old-fashioned way to reference sources, but they’re still useful to include in your work. If you use a source or refer to one in your text, you should include the correct citation so others can find the information again.

The right way to cite sources is in the spirit of the original author or creator. You should attribute their work when you use it, whether that’s directly in your blog post or a citation at the end of your piece. Of course, it’s much easier to cite your own work (self-citation), but it’s crucial that you cite appropriately when you use other people’s research since each author works their fingers to the bone.

The citation format varies depending on the type of material you are referencing, but there are some common ones for most references. Here are the basic rules:

When quoting or summarizing someone else’s words or ideas, list their name and the page number where they are found in parentheses at the beginning of your sentence. If you are paraphrasing another person’s writing, list their name at the end of your sentence. While citations can be technical, for writing and research, they tell the reader more about how you found the information, why it is important and what is next to explore. In academia, there is a large variety of how different types of information are cited in a reference. The most common styles are MLA, APA, Chicago, and CSE. The goal is to provide your reader with proper credit for sources used in a project. In the world of academia, reference citations are an integral part of any successful research.

The Prominence of Citation in The Academic World

1. Credit Is Given Where It’s Due

A research paper is highly dependent on the ideas of others, and citations are an important way to acknowledge the contributions of those who influenced you. Citation is a great way to acknowledge someone else’s contribution. When you cite your sources, you make it clear that you've used and quoted and referenced and paraphrased and s1ummarized and collaborated and integrated and investigated your material fairly and accurately. When you cite the words of someone else, you're showing that you're using their stuff but not full-on stealing it. That's plagiarism. If you find an interesting journal article and think it would be good for your research or writing, check out its author and thank them for writing such a great piece of work! Or if you see something online that is relevant to your research, such as a web page or blog post (and you don’t think anyone else already published it), ask yourself why they posted it in their blog and thank them for sharing it with the world!

2. Vast Knowledge For The Readers

Linking your source is one of the most important things you must do. It allows the people reading your work to locate your sources easily and learn more about the topics you have included in your paper.

Because of this, you must link your sources so that your readers can easily find the information you have included in your paper. When you're writing a research paper, there are three types of sources that you will want to include:

  • Primary Sources are the original documents (such as books, pamphlets, speeches) containing the information you want to include in your research paper. They can be found online or through the library.
  • Secondary Sources are relevant documents (such as reviews of these primary documents) that provide more information about what the author has said. They cannot be found online but in the library or through Internet resources, e-books, etc.
  • Tertiary Sources are relevant documents (such as reviews of Secondary sources) that provide more information about what the author has said than Secondary sources and contain original information not seen in Secondary sources.

Sources should be listed with their abbreviated title and date so they can easily be located by those trying to read your research paper.

3. No Plagiarism In Sight

Citing and referencing are a cornerstone of academic and professional writing. The most serious violations can occur when your content borrows words or phrases from another source and doesn’t properly attribute the source. Source-citing is a way to be sure the ideas and information you're using aren't stolen. If you don't properly credit the source of your information, it can be considered plagiarised and can cost you money as well as time. If you cite your sources precisely, you will always be plagiarism-free. It is still recommended that you always use a reputed plagiarism checker to be fully sure of the originality of your work.

Negative Citations: Is That A Thing?

When doing research for a paper, one of the applicable skill sets it takes to be successful is, searching for and citing other people’s work. But what would happen if a researcher cites a study and points out flaws or weaknesses in that study? Citations can be divided into positive and negative ones. The former are generally craved by authors, but the latter may be less welcomed when they come off as a critical comment or contradictory finding. We all believe in living in an ideal world without color, but the fact is that citations are sometimes used to refute the findings of others. Negative citations are often published within a few years of the original publication.


They are also from scientists working in similar areas or in the same field, which means they are more likely to detect errors. It is only recently that researchers have developed ways to look back over many years of literature for error patterns.

According to a study,

“Out of 762,355 citations from 15,731 articles, we identified 18,304 as negative (about 2.4% of the total). Although the incidence on a per-citation basis is relatively low, a nontrivial number of papers received at least one negative citation.”

The Role Of Negative Citations In The Scientific Assessment

Negative citations may contribute to the refinement of initial findings and help a field evolve. This could be regulated by retractions and corrections.

"On the one hand, the low frequency may be evidence of a limited, uninfluential role of negative citations or of the high social cost of making them. On the other hand, these citations represent a non-negligible share of the total in our data and, as such, could play an important role in limiting and correcting previous results, thus helping science progress."

The incidence and role of negative citations in science.

After all, no paper is perfect.

Citation Impact And Impact Factor

The impact factor is a quantitative expression of the public's opinion of your journal. It is used to measure the frequency with which the average article in a scientific or academic journal has been cited in a specific year. If this number is high, it means that the articles in your journal are often cited and well received by other scientists in their publications. In addition, it indicates that your articles are top quality, and as such, they are considered more valuable than those in the journals with lower impact factors. In other words, the more citations an article generates, the more credible it is.

If you’ve heard of something, you’ve most likely heard about it through the work of others. The most important thing to remember is citations are not a measure of originality or quality. They are simply a way to quantify the number of people who have cited the work in question.

That’s why it’s important to read carefully and look at the entire body of work the author has produced if you decide to cite them. You may find that the author is often cited for all kinds of ideas, some of which aren’t necessarily related to your research topic. This can make it hard for readers to track down your paper if they want to see whether they agree with what you have to say.

Citation impact quantifies how often a journal article or book or the author is cited by other articles, books, or authors. The number of citations measures the importance of a particular work within a field and is often associated with the number of times other authors have cited the work in different fields.

There are two types of citation impact:

  1. Internal Citation Impact: This is a measure of your impact within an academic journal and is determined by how many times you’ve been cited in other articles and books. It’s a very rough measurement but can give you a rough idea of where to start looking for citations.
  2. External Citation Impact: This measures how many citations your article receives from other researchers and writers. This one tends to be more reliable than internal citations because external citations are generally less influenced by the author’s identity or institutional affiliation than internal citations.

There are many factors responsible for citation impact, including the topic being covered, how recent an article is, whether it's a well-cited work, and more.

Now that you have a clear understanding of citation in scholarly publishing, it is also important to understand its performance. SciSpace Discovery provides you with comprehensive statistics about downloads, citations, and impact factors of each article. It also identifies research trends and the top contributors in the field of your choice.

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Citations count are at the core of assessing research impact. The past two decades have witnessed a trend towards open access citation advantage, but there is no consensus on this yet. Therefore the question still remains — Getting cited: Does open access help?.


Citing your sources properly is an important part of any research paper.  Treating others' work as if it were your own is dishonest and unethical conduct in science. Proper attribution provides transparency and traceability of ideas and affords future scientists the opportunity to build on and critique your work, giving rise to new ideas which can then be built upon themselves. This article portrays the predominance of citation in the academic world by covering different types of citations as well as the role of the impact factor. In order to better understand citations, it is useful to know more about how they are generated, what their purpose is, and the factors that influence their quantity and quality. Lastly, It can be tempting to take shortcuts by copying and pasting from the Internet, but if this type of behavior catches up with you, it can cost you money as well as time. If you cite your sources precisely, you will always be plagiarism-free.

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