Reflexive Citation: Taking your published work seriously

While attending recent imaging conference, a friend told me about a recent website posting on a topic familiar to me. We had previously discussed some of the normal levels of permission needed for posting by this US government cultural institution, so it was good to see. The posted information included software and links to supporting documents, including a paper presented at a conference I had attended.

I checked the links to the software file, manual and conference paper which reported on the method used. All links intact – good so far. However, when I viewed the posted version of the published conference paper something important was missing, the original publication, date, etc. Later, checking on other posted conference papers, I found several more examples.

Background: Many conferences* publish books, e.g. Proceedings of Annual River Wideners Conf. 1972. These proceedings books are published and copyrighted by the organizing society or group. In some cases, the authors are allowed to post their conference articles on their own websites. I am only addressing such permitted posting.

Posting: Back to the example I was looking at. The institution’s webpage had a link to the posted article (a PDF File). The hypertext was the article’s title only. The version of the posted article, however, had no indication of where or when it had been presented or published – reducing the chance that others would cite it in their publications.

Citation is attribution, even if it is your own work

Suggestion to Authors: masthead, nameplate or footer

Newspapers (please …) normally have a header that tells the reader the publication they are reading. This is often called the nameplate. Academic journals also have this in either a page header or footer, with page number etc.

Include reflexive citation: So if you are posting your published contributions online, increase the chance for others to read and cite your work by adding a reflexive citation in the header or footer. You probably uploaded a version for the proceedings book that did not have this information because pagination and such is done when assembling the book. Just add the citation to your version – you have the original (word processor) file.

There is probably another term for this. I am reminded of those reflexive verbs and pronouns we learnt when studying foreign languages (e.g., I feed myself /Je me nourris, I see myself / Yo me veo, or is it just, me veo) that we were unaware of in our native tongue. But we can teach ourselves no?

File under: RefCit
* While I am generally not in favour of including gratuitous pictures of AE in social media, this one seems appropriate, being from a famous conference on physics in 1927. Authors from this conference did not post their papers on-line, so did not need to add a reflexive citation.