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Re: [OT] tasks overview wishlist: Canonical citing reference

On Tue, 2008-10-07 at 23:55 +0200, Bernhard R. Link wrote:
> * Michael Banck <mbanck@debian.org> [081007 22:53]:
> > Also, having this would sense a clear signal to upstream authors that we
> > consider proper citing important and that enforcing citations in
> > copyright licensing is not the best thing to do.
> I think the better signal to send is that "enforced citation" is
> considered not academical behaviour as it is simply citation trolling.
> I my eyes it is equivalent of paying people to cite you. (Or rather
> eqauivalent to harrassing people to make them cite you).

I disagree.  Papers are required to provide full details on the methods
they use which affect the results, whether an instrument or piece of
software.  That provides transparency and verification.  For example, if
someone package A version B.C to solve equation Y, and someone else gets
a different solution, and a third person later finds a bug in that
version, it is essential to have the software and version in the papers
in order to sort out who is write.  The citation provides the canonical
reference to the software.

To address another side of this, the relevant currency in academia is
credit and not money, and nobody is paying or harassing anyone to use a
piece of software.  If you don't want to cite it, use a different tool,
or re-implement it.  But using software without citing it is like not
citing an algorithm or experimental method.

> There might be things where software can actually be used as academical
> contribution to some paper, but all examples I've yet seen were just
> ridicilously broad. Neighter your calculator nor your typewriter belonged
> in the citations (though sometimes might have been added as kind of joke,
> like people trying to award PHDs to their desktop computer), not does
> the equivalent in software. Citations have an academic purpose, they are
> not something to collect to make your resume look better...

That's a completely different situation.  One doesn't need to cite the
make and model of computer, as long as computers can be trusted to do
math properly -- the Pentium fdiv bug being the only counterexample I
know of in the past 30 years or so.

Until scientific software is as reliable and robust as arithmetic in
silicon (or the libm for that matter), we'll need to cite it properly.

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