Referential Ethics

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Referential Ethics

By M. Hulmicki, Ph.D
Rahway, New Jersey

This paper explores the ethics of researchers who make reference to other research reports by authors with whom, and on topics with which, they are not familiar.

Background

Scientists and other scholars talk to each other, and to posterity, by writing research papers and books[1,2,3,4,5,6]. So that readers can judge the quality of the research and veracity of the results, authors customarily list the sources of their facts and ideas[,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14]. Thus, research publications of good quality are filled with references to other research publications[,15,16,17,18].

The ethical problem

In recent years, it has become common practice for many researchers to “pad out” their footnote list by making reference to publications that have marginal connection to the topic at hand and which the author has read cursorally if at all[19,20,21,22,23,24,25,26,27]. This devalues the quality of the research report, and degrades the entire system of formal collegial communication upon which we all depend[28,29,30,31,32,33,34,35,36,37].


Conclusion

We therefore recommend that authors cite only reports:
a) which are germane to the topic[38,39,40]; and
b) with which they are intimately familiar[41,42,43,44,45,46,47,48].
To do otherwise is to damage the integrity and the future of the intellectual enterprise[49,50].

Acknowledgements

The author wishes to thank, although not to cite, Dr. Bruce W. Speck and Deborah Brackstone of Memphis State University for their seminal investigative research in this area.

Notes

1. Hulmicki, M., “Powers of Ten: 100,” Journal of Actuarial History, 1972, vol. 89, no. 2, pp. 621-650.
2. Hulmicki, M., personal communication.
3. Hulmicki, M., Tooth Decay in Fifteenth Century France, Bibliodental Press, Cleveland, 1962.
4. Hulmicki, M., “All-Weather Driving Characteristics of a Serotonin Transporter,” Neurotransportation Quarterly, 1992, vol. 6, no. 221, pp. 42-90.
5. Hulmicki, M., “Powers of Ten: 10,000,” Journal of Actuarial History, 1972, vol. 89, no. 2, pp. 712-739.
6. Hulmicki, M., Heroes of Brazilian Soccer, Sporto Publishers, Sao Paulo, 1978.
7. Hulmicki, M., Issues in Rent Control, York & Olympia Press, Toronto, 1990.
8. Hulmicki, M., “Uranium Isotopes in Ground Water and Calcite Under Barometric Conditions,” Topics in Lower Isotope Chemistry, 1958, vol. 9, no. 2, pp. 55-58.
9. Hulmicki, M., personal communication.
10. Hulmicki, M., “Powers of Ten: 10,000,000,” Journal of Actuarial History, 1972, vol. 89, no. 2, pp. 909-946.
11. Hulmicki, M., “Referential Ethics,” Annals of Improbable Research, 1992, vol. 37, no. 6, pp. 421-2.
12. Hulmicki, M., “Population Explosion in Red Spiders: Communication, Control and Command,” Jayne's Fighting Insects, 1985, vol. 47, no. 15, pp. 5-78.
13. Hulmicki, M., “Is Your Washroom Breeding Bolsheviks?” Iowa Small Business Bulletin, Summer/Autumn 1938, ppg. 1-2.
14. Hulmicki, M., personal communication.
15. Hulmicki, M., “Clathrate Hydrate Formation in Amorphous Cometary Ice Analogs in Vacuo Without and Within Sauce,” Findings in Astromenial Research, 1991, vol. 34, no. 3, pp. 86-105.
16. Hulmicki, M., “My Uncle Vince,” DeQuestral, New York, 1924.
17. Hulmicki, M., “A History of the Common Screw,” Milhous Review, April 3, 1972, pp. 35-37.
18. Hulmicki, M., personal communication.
19. Hulmicki, M., “Powers of Ten: 10,000,000,000,000,” Journal of Actuarial History, 1972, vol. 89, no. 2, pp. 2406-2408.
20. Hulmicki, M., “The Martha Stewart Mystique,” Men's Quarterly, Winter 1971, pp. 56-58.
21. Hulmicki, M., “Storing Ammunition in Your Freezer,” The New Alberta Sportsman's Gazette, January, 1962, back cover.
22. Hulmicki, M., Church Bells, Davies Press, Deptford, 1988.
23. Hulmicki, M., Bicycle Cranks, Lysenko Scientific, Leningrad, 1951.
24. Hulmicki, M., “Hulmicki on Hulmicki,” Self, October 1987, pp. 14-136.
25. Hulmicki, M., “Referencial Ethics,” Annals of Improbable Research, 1992, vol. 37, no. 6, pp. 421-2.
26. Hulmicki, M., “Powers of Ten: 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,” Journal of Actuarial History, 1972, vol. 89, no. 2, pp. 4347-4351.
27. Hulmicki, M., “Referencial Ethics,” Annals of Improbable Research, 1992, vol. 37, no. 6, pp. 421-2.
28. Hulmicki, M., “Dependence of Kidney Morphogenisis on the Expression of Nerve Growth Factor Receptor on Weekends,” Annals of Morphogenesis, 1992, vol. 61, no 8, pp. 1024-1025.
29. Hulmicki, M., personal communication.
30. Hulmicki, M., “Six Quick Sandwich Recipes,” Minnesota Home Companion, Summer 1965, pp. 12-15.
31. Hulmicki, M., “Declining Verbs,” Analects of Modern Language, 1983, vol. 26, no. 62, pp. 303-505.
32. Hulmicki, M., “Experimental Constraints on Strong-Field Relativistic Gravity in Cardboard Packing Crates,” Astrophysics Packing Journal, 1992, vol. 19, no. 3, pp. 84-90.
33. Hulmicki, M., “Mares Eat Oats,” American Lyrics, 1955, vol. 34, no. 16, p. 5.
34. Hulmicki, M., Ethical Dilemmas of Geostationary Orbits, Presley Academic Press, 1969, Houston.
35. Hulmicki, M., “Selecting Nailpolish for Your Daughter,” Los Angeles Parent, February 1987, pp. 24-32.
36. Hulmicki, M., “Does Eat Oats,” American Lyrics, 1955, vol. 34, no. 16, p. 6.
37. Hulmicki, M., Bibliodiversity in the Amazon Region, Schultse, Malden, 1990.
38. Hulmicki, M., “Endogenous Production, Exogenous Delivery and Impact-Shock Synthesis of Organic Molecules: A Just-in-Time Spare Parts Inventory for the Origins of Life,” Logistics of Astrophysics, 1989, vol. 26, no. 32, pp. 125-131.
39. Hulmicki, M., “Gesture and Meaning in Sex Films of the 1950's,” Escort Film News, 1975, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 1-3.
40. Hulmicki, M., “Three-Dimensional Heteronuclear NMR Studies of RNA in 7-Up,” NMR Refreshment Journal, 1991, vol. 12, no. 40, pp. 386-387.
41. Hulmicki, M., “Little Lambs Eat Ivy,” American Lyrics, 1955, vol. 34, no. 16, p. 7.
42. Hulmicki, M., “Powers of Ten: 100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,” Journal of Actuarial History, 1972, vol. 89, no. 2, pp. 13447-13451.
43. Hulmicki, M., “A Self-Organizing Neural Network That Produces Random Dots,” Computational Network Review, 1992, vol. 4, no. 1, pp. 12-442.
44. Hulmicki, M., “Powers of Ten: 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,” Journal of Actuarial History, 1972, vol. 89, no. 2, pp. 629706-629711.45. Hulmicki, M., Olivia Newton-John, unpublished.
46. Hulmicki, M., personal communication.
47. Hulmicki, M., Motoring With Castrol, Lippincott, Helsinki, 1951.
48. Hulmicki, M., “A Clinical Study of the Electrolysis of Peach Fuzz” Missouri State Dermatology Journal, 1962, vol. 14, no. 5, pp. 16-24.
49. Hulmicki, M., Last Will and Testament, unpublished.
50. Hulmicki, M., “Referential Ethics,” Annals of Improbable Research, 1992, vol. 37, no. 6, pp. 421-2.

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