As awareness of systemic racism grows on college campuses, one hot topic has been inclusive citation. So, what is inclusive citation, why does it matter, and what can we do about it?
Inclusive citation is about whose work we decide to cite. When we cite, we are situating our own work in the larger scholarly conversation about our topic. When we choose which sources to cite, our decisions influence who is part of that conversation—and who is not. Practicing inclusive citation means making intentional choices to find and cite the work of scholars with varied backgrounds and identities, in order to increase equity and inclusion in your field.
Why does inclusive citation matter? Citation counts are considered a metric of success for scholars, and can heavily influence job offers, promotions, tenure decisions, and more. However, there is a growing body of evidence showing that women and underrepresented minorities are consistently cited at lower rates than men, across disciplines. And the more a scholar’s work is cited, the more they will continue to be cited over time. This inequity makes it harder for people from underrepresented groups to succeed in their field.
How can we practice more inclusive citation? Here are a few ideas to get us started:
- Analyze your reference list and ask yourself, who am I not citing? Are there other perspectives that I should consider?
- Find a leading researcher in your field with a marginalized identity, and follow their work on social media.
- Experiment with different search strategies or sources to bring back different (and potentially more diverse) results.
- Make diversity of authors and perspectives a factor in prioritizing what research you decide to read.
Want to learn more?
What is inclusive citation? is a short tutorial that details these strategies and the research behind them.
The rise of citation justice: how scholars are making references fairer is an article from Nature that provides an excellent overview of research on citation inequities, efforts to diversify citations, and critical responses.