How to make citations work harder for you
A fundamental component of scholarly research is reading, and citing, other people’s work. One effective way to get more context and a deeper understanding of a subject is to look at the citations to, and from, an article.Science is one long trail of citations. Apart from the very first academic article, published in January 1665, every article has had earlier papers to draw on, to agree with, or to refute.
How to effectively manage citations
One of the cornerstones of the academic article is citations. Scholarly knowledge proceeds by recognising the work of others, which means by citing published articles and books, and then using that knowledge to create some new theory or idea that is different in kind to what came before. After the new paper has been published, others will critique it, might agree, or disagree with it, and so scientific knowledge continues to evolve. As Newton wrote, in a 1675 letter to Robert Hooke, “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” In other words, he read all the relevant articles and books that preceded his own thinking.
Uncovering Previous Research Findings In Preprints
Researchers have been making their early-stage research available on preprint servers since the early 90s, but it's really over the past year or two that preprints have gone mainstream.As well as the huge growth in submissions to established repositories such as arXiv and bioRxiv, there are now preprint servers for marine biology, the social sciences, psychology, chemistry, health sciences, and larger publishers are starting to get in on the action.
How Scholarcy contributes to and makes use of open citations
When researchers cite previous work, they recognise the foundations of their own research and provide evidence that may support or refute their methods and results. This creates a narrative path that contextualises their contributions within the larger body of scientific knowledge. But keeping up with this growing volume of literature is increasingly reliant on the use of digital discovery services. As a result, open access to citation metadata in machine-readable format is critical to the dissemination of knowledge. Thanks to the Initiative for Open Citations (I4OC) , the proportion of research papers with openly accessible and freely reusable citation data has grown from 1% to over 40% during the period September 2016 to April 2017 .