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Re: Citation requirement and the GPL

From: Ian Gent
Subject: Re: Citation requirement and the GPL
Date: Mon, 28 Mar 2016 09:59:55 +0000
User-agent: Microsoft-MacOutlook/

>On Thu, Mar 24, 2016 at 2:17 PM, Christopher Jefferson
><> wrote:
>> If it is acceptable to ignore the citing requirement,
>I have tried to see if I could come up with a scenario where a
>respectable scientist would not cite sources that he used for his
>article - especially when the sources ask to be cited. I have failed
>to come up with a single scenario.
>Can you elaborate on the situations in which you believe academia
>would applaud _not_ citing your sources?

Yes I certainly can. 

Every paper I write critically depends on the use of modern computers, and 
modern computers depend on transistors.  But nobody would suggest that in a 
paper on algorithms that I should cite the original paper about transistors [1].

That is a trivial example.  But it does illustrate the key point, which is that 
citations are not a complete record of every piece of work that contributed to 
the paper. They are selective, and they have to be selective: otherwise a large 
percentage of all papers ever published would need to be cited in my next 

Of course many examples are equally clear in the other direction.  If I spotted 
some error in the transistor paper and published a correction, obviously I 
should cite it.  Or if I was writing an article about when and where to cite or 
not cite things then obviously it would make complete sense to cite the 
Transistor paper, so here it is:

[1] The Theory of p-n Junctions in Semiconductors and p-n Junction Transistors, 
Shockley, 1949

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