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Automating citations risks encouraging sloppy science


Age of algorithms challenges traditional notions of good research, say Wytske Hepkema and her colleagues

Citation recommendation tools are at the frontier of technology to automate the process of writing an academic article. These applications process textual input during writing—ranging from a single sentence to entire manuscripts—and recommend a fitting citation based on a learning algorithm. The ultimate aim is to automate the process of compiling a reference list, suggesting citations based on an author’s text.

This may seem like a great innovation that will save researchers a lot of time. We argue, however, that such tools encourage questionable citing practices and should thus be developed and implemented with caution. 

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