Cite the Good Cite: Making Citations in Political Science More Transparent
By Jonathan Grossman, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Political science research aims for greater transparency. Authors are increasingly expected to share their data and methodology so that readers and reviewers can follow their line of argument and replicate their findings. However, citations of books, articles, and other secondary sources in the discipline are still predominantly general, referring to entire works rather than specific parts of them. This article addresses the problem of the overuse of general citations as a disciplinary norm in political science. An analysis of articles published in five top-tier journals in 2019 reveals that only around 10% of the citations in these articles provide detailed source information (e.g., page numbers and location information) and identifies some of the causes for this scarcity. The article calls for more transparent citation norms in the discipline, suggests preliminary steps toward this goal, and proposes solutions for the challenges posed by the increasing use of digital sources.