Referencing is a sham

How authority gets mistaken for the truth

Referencing is supposed to improve writing by making it accountable to its sources and to external facts. But the rise of in-text referencing has been bad for academic writing, making it even less readable and encouraging readers and writers to mistake appeals to authority for the truth. Addressing the problems of referencing will help improve how we think as well as how we write.  


Browse the writing guide on any university website and you’ll soon alight on a webpage explaining the importance of referencing for academic integrity. Referencing is important because it makes the writer more accountable to their sources. It makes the writer more credible by ensuring that each claim is backed up by the best available evidence in the form of little nuggets of authoritative truth. It provides the reader with access to useful further reading on the subject of the piece. Referencing enforces scientific integrity on ever-broader domains of knowle

Continue reading

Enjoy unlimited access to the world's leading thinkers.

Start by exploring our subscription options or joining our mailing list today.

Start Free Trial

Already a subscriber? Log in

Join the conversation