The journals Genetics and Nature Genetics seem to take opposite views on citations. See first this editorial from Nature Genetics: ”Neutral citation is poor scholarship”. It is strongly worded in a way that is surprising and entertaining:
The journal deplores and will decline to consider manuscripts that fail to identify the key findings of published articles and that—deliberately or inadvertently—omit the reason the prior work is cited.
(All the emphasis in all the quotes was added by me.)
The passage that suggests a difference in citation policy occurs at the end:
Authors are of course free to select the literature that is relevant to their current work and to cite in their arguments only those publications that meet their standards of evidence and quality.
Genetics, on the other hand, says this in the instructions for preparing a manuscript:
Authors are encouraged to:
- cite the supporting literature completely rather than select a subset of citations;
- provide important background citations, including relevant review papers (to help orient the non-specialist reader);
- to cite similar work in other organisms.
I’m sure the editors of Genetics also don’t support scattershot citation of tangentially related papers (as in ”This field exists [1-20]”), but they seem to take a different stance on how to choose what to cite.
I wonder what the writers of the respective recommendations would make of these, in my opinion delightful, opening sentences (from Yun & Agrawal 2014). Note the absence of hundreds of citations.
Inbreeding depression has been estimated hundreds of times in a wide variety of taxa. From this body [of] work, it is clear that inbreeding depression is common but also that it is highly variable in magnitude.