The author-year citations make me want to quit social sciences.

The picture below is an excerpt from a textbook I'm reading and about 25% of the paragraph is citations. I need to do a lot of highlighting just to read paragraphs like these, and they're not uncommon.

If only we used numeric or alphabetic (e.g. [BM1989] instead of (Bates & MacWhinney, 1989)), it'd be much much better.

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@cadadr Or, you know, numbered footnotes or endnotes.¹

Social sciences citations styles drive me nuts.


The way the Creator intended.

@dredmorbius Inline citations do have some advantages. "ibid"s and "idem"s are PITA to resolve, and sometimes you still need to describe things even with footnotes. E.g., compare

1 "Morbius and Kayaalp in their 2020 study¹ ..."

2 "[MK2020] postulates ..."

3 "Morbius and Kayaalp claim ... [1]."

4 "Morbius & Kayaalp (1991) has found ..."

IMO (2) is the sweet spot because it's but a glorified endnotes scheme and yet it can be used mnemonically in some contexts to save some mental cycles.

@cadadr I generally prefer major cites referenced in the text on first reference. Ibid/idem makes sense in print where page space is limited. Abbreviated cites in footnotes/endnotes seem my sweet spot.

I'll also often scan by reading notes, index, and bibliography. That's not possible (or less possible) with inline cites.

@cadadr This is why, if I ever went back and got my Ph.D. and taught at university, this type of nonsense would not be allowed on my student's papers.

I remember my peers using many sources so that they could put a lot of citations within the paper, to make the content seem more than what it really was. I hate these types of cut-the-corners work in academia.

To my mind (from STEM field) author-year style is perfectly fine in research papers: only the introduction is heavily packed with them, and I really want to know how the authors verify their claims (with reference or with their own analysis) without losing the focus. But they start to look clumsy in reviews, textbooks or dissertations, where they are really numerous but the facts have already been more or less established. Footnote style is probably more appropriate in this case: looking at the references at the end of the book all the time is not а pleasant experience :)

I am not a huge fan of alphanumeric abbreviations, but they are fine as shortcuts to the most referenced paper.

@taxuswc One thing that I find confusing is indeed with this textbook / handbook big ass citation chains is that why they don't put them in a footnote. Like if you'll chain more than 2 or 3, just do in a footnote. Maybe it's disfavoured in some journals or by some publishers?

FWIW, the problem kinda goes away when they are linked because the little boxes the reader draws make them stand out. Tho sadly us social sciences folks are far behind STEM in making nice PDFs...

Well, mostly it is publisher's choice, of course. Ironically, IRL (i.e. not my dreams :) Nature uses numbered endnotes for its Letters (disguised as footnotes), while Reviews of Modern Physics uses author-year style. In Nature's case it probably makes sense to save some paper, but I think we live in another millennia...

BTW, remembered about this fantastic guide on writing thesis with modern latex, with biblatex refs as bracketed footnotes. Unfortunately, I stumbled upon it too late to fix my Master's thesis :(

@taxuswc Huh, it was a neat surprise to see author-year in Rev. Mod. Phys., first time I see that style on a STEM paper (non that I read a lot of them, tho). Couldn't find that Letters journal for some reason.

That page you linked is pretty neat tho it's also kinda infuriating because I'll probably have to submit a .docx w/ MLA format 😠 😜

BTW with my MA I was really suprised with the amount of 90s kids that still stick to printing everything out. Sad waste of both paper and money IMHO...

Hmm, in astrophysics most prominent journals use author-year style: MNRAS, Astronomy & Astrophysics, Astrophysical Journal etc. I think this makes sense, because they publish research articles (for reasons wrote earlier in this thread). However, all Annual Reviews journals use author-year, and that's something I don't agree with..

> .docx w/ MLA format
Oh, that's painful :blobcatnotlikethis: It looks like there are latex classes implementing MLA, but I doubt pandoc can preserve the styles during .docx conversion (and any almost any option is better than converting from tex :)

> [..] 90s kids [..] printing everything out
Oops, one of those on the other side of the screen :blobcatpeekaboo: Not everything though, but important parts quite often. Paper is still the best medium to read and annotate large swaths of 2-column 10pt text..

> Oops, one of those on the other side of the screen 

😆 😆

I don't judge you, reading on a computer screen is a terrible experience. I went full-digital only some time around Spring 2019 because scanning in annotations and manually transcribing them was too much work.

I hoped things like reMarkable could help but from what I gather these devices are not designed with academic readers in mind. For now I make do with Okular, quirky but very featureful w.r.t. annotations.

> Letters journal
Letter is a form of submission, it is usually a very short article (~5 pages) featuring an important discovery, for example. Nature uses endnotes for all types of articles, it was just my bad example, sorry for confusion.

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