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Re: st: Suggestion - Citing references from Stata Journal

From   Richard Williams <>
Subject   Re: st: Suggestion - Citing references from Stata Journal
Date   Thu, 12 Apr 2012 17:14:15 -0400

At 02:57 PM 4/12/2012, Tiago V. Pereira wrote:
Weak or not, the argument is real, and we found that in practice. Perhaps
(but I am not sure, of course) researchers from biomedical fields have a
more dynamic research (i.e. they need to publish faster) and deal with a
larger number of references, making them unwilling to type references to
speed up their manuscripts.

For example, nearly all meta-analyses published mentioning Stata have used
-metan-. However, few papers cite -metan-. Why is that?

I don't know, but I doubt that it was because it would take too long to type up a citation. I see that the -metan- help file does not request citations nor does it provide a suggested citation, so that may be part of it. If I was using -metan- and the authors had an appropriate article about it they wanted you to cite, I would probably try to fit such a citation in somewhere.

I might decide to not cite something because I felt it was not appropriate to cite it. But if I felt it deserved citation, I wouldn't decide to not cite it because it would be a hassle to type up the citation.

I think a lot of times it is a good idea to provide citations, not so much because you want to thank the author, but because the citation will help readers look up materials that will help them to understand the method better. Many (most?) Stata Journal articles aren't just showing how to use a program, they are explaining the rationale behind the method used. I think people should cite my gologit2 article in SJ, not so much to give me thanks, but so that readers know where to go if they want to understand the methods better.

I agree (although others may not) that it is more debatable whether you should cite a program that, say, helps you make your tables more attractive or manipulate your data set more easily. Those strike me as being more like technical aids that are separate from an understanding of the statistical techniques used. I had a paper where I thanked the authors of outreg2 and esttab in the acknowledgments, which seemed more appropriate to me, but maybe others would say I should have provided some sort of citation.

Richard Williams, Notre Dame Dept of Sociology
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