In our newest “how can we help you?” thread, a postdoc writes:
Something I’ve recently encountered is editors and copy editors insisting that footnote citations be moved to the main text. This offends my aesthetic sensibilities and strikes me as unduly infringing on author style: other things equal, I strongly prefer philosophy papers with main text that is just doing philosophy over those that go back and forth between philosophy and scholarship throughout the main text. I also listen to a lot of philosophy papers and much prefer listening to ones that confine citations to footnotes. (After hearing one or two citations, I tend to get distracted and have to go back or miss parts of the paper. I can avoid this problem when citations are in footnotes by skipping the footnotes. In contrast, I don’t know of any easy way not to listen to citations that are in the main text.) It occurred to me that it might be easier to persuade editors and copy editors not to insist on moving citations to the main text if there were a discussion to point to in the profession that acknowledges confine-citations-to-footnotes as a legitimate writing style with accessibility advantages.
I’m curious to hear what readers think. An editor submitted the following reply:
The issue you raise, as I understand it, is not one of author style – it is one of journal style. Journals and book book publishers have house styles, and they want all the pieces in an issue or a volume to have the same style. So the price an author pays to be published in these issues or volumes is to cite according to the journal or publisher style. I think it is reasonable, but I work for Dark side – I am a journal edited and the editor of a few edited volumes with CUP.
And Malcom submitted the following:
On footnote citations: it sounds like what “a postdoc” is talking about is a preference for author-date style over notes and bibliography, as CMOS distinguishes the systems (see chapter 14 for detail). The editors and copyeditors enforcing these citation styles are probably not in a position to change the requirement for a single author contributing to a journal, since the house style has been set already. Books are a different matter, and there often can be some flexibility there. Part of copyediting involves enforcing consistency, which is why a single citation style is (typically) preserved across issues of a journal. Author style is something that should be respected, however, citation style isn’t typically considered part of this. The other points are more substantive and perhaps controversial: the distinction between “doing philosophy” and “scholarship” in this context isn’t one I agree with. Citations are part of how we give evidence for claims, for instance, and so are not easily partitioned off from “doing philosophy.” To the point about listening to audio of papers: in discussions of endnotes over footnotes, some have made a similar criticism, that footnotes interrupt the reading (since they are read between pages, often interrupting sentences). I think the points about accessibility are ones that we should consider in the profession–however, for those who want to hear the citations immediately (because they want to know the sources for claims, etc.), wouldn’t moving citations to the end impact their accessibility negatively? It seems like the solution may be more technological, allowing hearers to access the text in the ways they prefer, than about uniformly enforcing notes and bibliography over author-date.
I have to confess that I’m a bit sympathetic with the OP. As an author and reader, I much prefer footnote citations to in-text citations or endnotes. I also have to confess that changing citation formats is one of my biggest pet peeves, as I’ve never learned how to use a citation program that enables one to switch formats easily (though I’ve heard that ChatGPT can make these kinds of changes swiftly, so I’m curious to try that). I understand that journals and book publishers have house styles, but I’m curious to hear what readers think about this.
Should publishers be more flexible with authors in this regard, letting authors choose their favored citation format? And what about accessibility concerns? What do you all think?
Originally appeared on The Philosophers’ Cocoon Read More