What Lies Within: Superscripting References to Reveal Research Trends
E. Anicich. Perspectives on Psychological Science9 (6):
Interpreting scholarly contributions solely on the basis of the number, and not nature, of citations is inherently flawed because contradictory as well as confirmatory findings feed into the same metric, capturing popularity at the expense of precision. I propose a citation and indexing procedure that would conveniently integrate information about research trends while imposing minimal burden on the producers and consumers of research. Under the proposed system, citations appearing in the reference list of research reports would be superscripted with letters corresponding to one of the following six categories: references to findings that are Consistent with the current findings, are Replicated by the current findings, are Inconsistent with the current findings, Failed to be replicated by the current findings, were used to build Theory, or were used to cite Methodologies. I explain how the resulting CRIF-TM data could be summarized and perpetually updated by an online indexing service. I provide an example to demonstrate how these superscripts could be conveniently and unobtrusively presented in the reference list of forthcoming articles. Finally, I examine the anticipated benefits, limitations, and implementation challenges of the proposed citation and indexing procedure.