Monday, September 24, 2012

The academic scitation game

I usually start a new scientific project without studying the published literature of the domain in advance, because knowing that almost everything has already been done (which is invariably the case) spoils my explorative mood and blocks my creativity. As a result, when it comes to a publication of the results, I have a hard time to find a decent number of relevant citations. Very often, then, the referees criticize my short citation list and - as one of them put it approximately - the 'strange disconnection of my manuscript from the history'.

I was therefore pleased to read the following passage in Edward de Bono's creativity book 'Think! Before It's Too Late (2009)':
A very eminent scientist once asked me why I did not have lists of references in my books. I replied that it was because the ideas were mine and not obtained through scholarly research into other people's work. He told me that nevertheless I should 'fake' a reference list, whether or not I had read the works, because this was what was expected – this was 'the academic game'.

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