Wednesday, July 27, 2011

What's a Definitive Academic Reference?

Some blog followers might be interested in a discussion-list post “What's a Definitive Academic Reference?” [Hake (2011)].

The abstract reads:

ABSTRACT: In a post “Re: Ashamed it is physicists and not learning scientists!” [Hake (2011) at (you can safely ignore the warning) I argued for the use of “Definitive Academic References” (DAR’s) in Academic Discussion Lists (ADL’s). PhysLrnR’s Noah Podolefsky responded (paraphrasing) “How can we provide DAR’s when we don't know what they are?”

Hundreds of examples of DAR’s are in the REFERENCE lists of my posts - see the OPEN! archives of AERA-L at With some important exceptions my references are consistent with recommendations in the Style Manuals of the AIP, APA, and CSE.

The exceptions are that my references: (a) recognize the invention of the internet, (b) always include the TITLES (mini-abstracts) of journal articles, and (c) do not waste space by specifying the geographical locations of publishers - a relic of the pre-internet age.

In fact, “PEdants for Definitive Academic References which Recognize the Invention of the Internet (PEDARRII)” was founded in a thus-far failed attempt to make the above exceptions the rule. Should anyone be sympathetic with that goal, I’d be glad to place her/his name before the nominating committee as a potential “Honorary Member of PEDARRII.”

In a parting shot, Podolefsky implied that Einstein's 1905 paper “On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies”, which contained no references, contradicted Latour’s opinion that “A paper that does not have references is like a child without an escort walking at night in a big city it does not know: isolated, lost, anything may happen to it.” Just as Latour said, “anything may happen to it”! Einstein's (1905) masterpiece set forth the revolutionary “special theory of relativity” Similarly some children left alone at night in big cities have become hedge-fund managers and made billions per year!

To access the complete 10 kB post please click on

Richard Hake, Emeritus Professor of Physics, Indiana University
Honorary Member, Curmudgeon Lodge of Deventer, The Netherlands
President, PEdants for Definitive Academic References which
Recognize the Invention of the Internet (PEDARRII)

REFERENCES [URL’s shortened by and accessed on 27 July 2011.]

Hake, R.R. 2011. “What's a Definitive Academic Reference?” online on the OPEN! AERA-L archives at Post of 27 Jul 2011 17:20:53-0700 to AERA-L and Net-Gold. The abstract and link to the complete post are being transmitted to various discussion lists.

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