Having a thorough understanding of the research that has been done in the field is necessary for a scientist to be able to choose a suitable research topic. When writing a research paper or a research proposal, scientists must show reviewers that they have this necessary knowledge and that their project is a logical next step to build on what’s been done. They show this knowledge through citations. Citing important works that are relevant to one’s research topic is not only crucial to the success of individual proposals and research papers, but it may be essential to the efficiency of scientific advancement on a broad scale.

For this exercise, read “Scientific Communication–A Vanity Fair?” by Georg Franck published in Science, and answer the following questions. (Read the article once to get the gist, then read it a second time for understanding.)

  1. Explain 2 problems that could arise from using the number of times a work is cited as a measure of that work’s value?
  2. How does the author see the use of citation as an efficient means of advancing scientific knowledge?