Author: Ana Pérez-Escoda Translation: Erika-Lucia Gonzalez-Carrion

The hallmark of a good researcher is the attention that he/she pays in detail in all elements of his/her research. This equally consideration of all sections of a manuscript cultivates good habits that will result in optimal results. The preparation of an adequate, extensive and up-to-date bibliography focuses on the entire research procedure, furthermore, it helps scientific thinking and analysis and contributes to improving research results.

According to the American Psychological Association in its 7th Edition of APA Standards (2020):

The references suppose the guarantee to achieve academic excellence and the only guarantor to ensure the impact of the published work.

References are allusions to the works of one or more authors on topics related to the research presented, which are collected in an orderly way at the end of the manuscript and whose presentation format may vary according to the regulations that the publication accepts. However, we can find different styles for the references depending on the discipline:

Sciences: ACS  (chemistry), AIP (physics), AMS (mathematics), Harvard (biology and environmental); Law: APA, UNE-IsSO 690; Economics: Harvard; Education: APA; Humanities: Chicago (history, art, music), MLA (philologies); Medicine: Vancouver; Polytechnic: IEEE; Psychology: APA

Indicators of the value of references

Quality. In this sense, the references used in an article will show the quality of the manuscript. Detailing primary sources and those published in impact magazines (WOS and SCOPUS), indicative of the degree of knowledge of the author in the subject matter studied, will avoid a feeling of lack of awareness. Therefore, the references included in a scientific article are its cover letter, the science in which it is endorsed to seek scientific progress.

Academic legitimacy. Lack of references may be interpreted by an editor or reader as a sign of intellectual laziness, inbred thinking, or lack of knowledge. When references are included and sources are cited correctly, there is no doubt in this regard. An excellent bibliography shows a mature, exact and expected scientific knowledge in a scientific manuscript and from a legitimate author in one area.

Updated content. This indicator is related to the interest aroused in the topic discussed in recent years (references from the last five years are normally valued). Variety, in this sense, is highly recommended, in addition, the preponderance of the references of an author or authors that suggest self-promotion, self-plagiarism or selective citation of works whose conclusions agree with those of the author should be completely avoided.

Rigurousness. The academic objectivity of the result, undoubtedly depends on the degree of demand and rigor. Two fundamental features drive this aspect: the consistency of the references that are demonstrated if they are primary sources, and, the relevance, that is, the suitability of each reference with the subject matter. The rigurousness with which the bibliography is constructed will reveal an author widely read and, therefore, legitimized in the field of study.

Impact. The references give the author the echo and, therefore, knowledge of his/her publication to all those authors that he/she has cited, which is in his scope as a researcher who also contributes to the field of study. Alternative metrics tools as well as academic networks are, without a doubt, the best allies to extend the impact that the publication of a new manuscript provides to the author (Google Scholar, ResearchGate, AcademiaEdu).


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