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RE: [xmca] Citing and Slighting

Hi David,
I haven't read the editorial but I have to agree with you that "name dropping" is one of the more bizarre editorial critiques I have come across.  It reminds of of one of my favorite movie scenes from Amadeus in which after one of his first operas Mozart asks the Franz Joseph how he liked the music.  Fran Joseph says that well it was all right but there were problems.  Mozart asks what poblems.  And Franz Joseph says that well, there were too many notes.  To which Mozart states that there were just as many notes as needed, no more and no less.
Generally this is true of citations I think.  Of course you should refrain from citing yourself unless necessary, or friends - but otherwise - WTH?  I've been doing some research on hyperlinks lately - and their history is that they are meant to function a great deal like citations - but in many ways citations don't only represent origination of information source but also associations - that these works offer associations and trails of ideas - when we write we are not only attempting to talk about a new idea but also pull together a web of information and integrate what we are writing into that web. This is both the author's responsibility but also the author's perogative.
The couple of times I have gotten the name dropping critique (never explained or expanded upon) it has always struck me as the reviewer waving his hand in the air and saying "too many citations."


From: xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu on behalf of David Kellogg
Sent: Thu 6/10/2010 3:56 AM
To: xmca
Subject: [xmca] Citing and Slighting

I just read Mike (Cole's) and Wolff-Michael (Roth's) editorial "The referencing practices of Mind, Culture, and Activity: On citing (sighting?) and being (sighted?)" with what I must confess is a mild dose of that most unworthy emotion, irritation. I will try to compensate for it with generous glop of humor, but I imagine some of this must be at the expense of the authors.
For those of you with no access to the article, I summarize. Michael and Michael hector prospective writers, in the name of the readers, about unnecessary citations which they consider "name dropping" and resume stuffing moves. We are given an amusing assortment of examples of this, not only as examples of bad practices, but in the editorial itself, for example when an overenthusiastic citation of Ilyenkov makes it appear that he is entirely responsible for the dialectical materialist account of modern science and poor Bakhtin is dragged in by the ears to make a completely uncontested point about monologism and dialogism (even more amusingly, the title of Bakhtin's book "Problems of Dostoevsky's Poetics" is given incorrectly).
What the editorial really LACKS is any explanation for this lamentable phenomenon beyond blaming the victims. As an author myself, I can assure the editors that it is not, in general, my own name that I drop or my own resume that I stuff. Why, then, do I do it?
Well, anybody who reads Wolff-Michael's editorials on a regular basis may notice that we are often enjoined to cite MCA for no other reason than to increase the journal's impact factor. And anybody who has access to my voluminous collection of MCA rejection slips will notice that one of the most common reasons for rejection is that the citations are incomplete.
As the authors say, this problem is by no means confined to MCA; I can name half a dozen journals where my articles were ONLY published after the insertion of references that I have very good reason to suspect were to the work of the reviewers. I must say, though, that MCA is better than their word on this: in general, my rejections do NOT say "revise and resubmit with more references"--they tend to say "Don't bother, kid. You're not in our league!"
I paraphrase, of course. But I could certainly quote and cite.
David Kellogg
Seoul National University of Education

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