Friday, October 23, 2020

Against reference limits

Many academic conferences and journals have limits on the number of references you can cite. I want to argue here that these limits make no sense and should be universally abolished

To be honest, I kind of feel like I should be able to end this post here, since the idea seems so eminently sensible to me. But here's the positive case: If you are doing academic research of any type, you are not starting from scratch. It's critical to acknowledge antecedents and background so that readers can check assumptions. Some research has less antecedent work in its area, other research has more, and so a single limit for all articles doesn't make sense. More references allow readers to understand better where an article falls in the broader literature.