Why do we cite the work of others?
14 Jan

Why do we cite the work of others?

Information sharing and knowledge exchange are two effective factors for development process, we can see impacts of them in current state of the world that many impossible things created, and hopefully, this beautiful channel will be continued for next decades also.

We can simply conclude that learning from others is something that no one can exclude it, any research, invention,  thesis, papers, etc uses some common knowledge that built by community, and other resources that are intellectual properties of known authors, or any group, organizations, and community. As we learned from last week that academic research must contribute something to knowledge of which others can learn from it, but this approach requires also such regulations and style for different reasons, for instance, citing and referencing are two important points that must be exist when we use other’s work (idea, theory, conclusion, etc).

Academic Writing and Citation

‘One of the most important aspects of academic writing is making use of the ideas of other people’ (Andy Gillett, 2012) as explained also in above paragraph, academic writing or any scholar materials requires to be based on previous facts, knowledge, and results. From this point, the way that how other works used is called referencing style, some common styles that outlined by (The University of Queensland, 2012) are: Harvard, APA, ACS, AGLC, AGPS/AGIMO, AMA, CSE, IEEE, MLA, and Vancouver.

Braunstein et al. (2008) stated that ‘Proper citation lies at the heart of intellectual exchange’ and also they described that citation confers authority highlights the novelty of such contribution to the set of knowledge and idea, from this point, citation protects academic integrity by avoiding plagiarism, and finally, enhances the contributed knowledge of which reader can track many keywords from cited sources.

Shortly, the following reasons can be summarized behind citation:

1- Academic Integrity: scholarly contribution requires academic writing and academic integrity, thus, citation indirectly means that other resources used as evidence for supporting author’s idea, then, contributed knowledge can be considered valid and trusted if used by others.

2- Avoiding Plagiarism: requires to cite source with full bibliography whenever other works used in forms of (Quotation, Paraphrasing, summarizing, data (tables, images, figures, charts, etc), and Supplementary Information).

Good Source

Generally, good sources can be recognized by strength of its content, and this always refers to good writer that provided quality content in the context of problem, topic, etc.

Naperville North High School (2009) outlined useful checklist as evaluation criteria for sources:

  • Authority (who was writer(s)?)
  • Objectively (Why or for what goal(s) it was written?)
  • Currency (Timeliness, when was it written? updates, publication dates, etc)
  • Accuracy or Publication (Peer-reviewed? verified?)
  • Content & Organization (Well presented, organized information, etc)

Then, when: A good writer, writing well presented and organized content for good quality topic or problem, and when the content checked and verified by known authors also, then, all these factors constitutes a good source.



Citing appears as small part of academic papers while it has great impact on it, improper citation leads to weak academic integrity and then the work might be considered unoriginal because of plagiarism. For making a good citation, these two questions (When citing? and how citing?) helps writer to properly cite when using other works.

Regarding to good source, a short paper, article, tutorial, etc can be evaluated easily, while, Books, Thesis, and complex research requires longer time and to be evaluated by experts.


  • Andy Gillett (2012) Citing sources [Online]. Available from: http://www.uefap.com/writing/citation/citing.htm (Accessed: 19 September 2012)
  • Laura Braunstein, Thomas H. Cormen, Co-chair,  Karen Gocsik, Irene Kacandes, Richard Kremer, William Lotko, Thomas Luxon, Adrian Randolph, April Thompson (2008)  Sources and Citation at Dartmouth College [Online].  Available from: http://www.dartmouth.edu/~writing/sources/sources-citation.html (Accessed: 19 September 2012)
  • Naperville North High School (2009) What Makes a “Good” Source [Online]. Available from: http://schools.naperville203.org/north/assets/assets/goodsrce.pdf (Accessed: 19 September 2012)
  • The University of Queensland (2012) Referencing Styles [Online]. Available from: http://www.library.uq.edu.au/infoskil/styles2.html (Accessed: 22 September 2012)

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