Usage of VITESSE

E. Wijsman wijsman at
Sun Nov 30 14:35:11 EST 1997

Ok Dave, I get it - it was partly a joke.  But seriously, the question of
what the is the most appropriate citation approach to programs is not a
totally idle question.  Program references are not always as obvious as
references to other methods.  Some papers, such as that describing VITESSE
or the first announcement of FASTLINK, are clearly algorithmic/program
description papers.  Then later come new improved versions.  In some
cases, even initial programs are announced as a footnote in an applied
paper. How many references are necessary, and which ones?  I would argue
that one should cite at least the first relevant reference for each
program that one actually uses in analyses reported in a paper (e.g., the
first LINKAGE reference, the first FASTLINK reference, etc.).  I suppose
that if there is a limit on the number of references (and only then), if
one uses FASTLINK, one could reference only the initial FASTLINK paper,
since this paper acknowledges the original LINKAGE papers.  When there is
a limit to the number of references, one cannot always cite everything
(just in the case of the reference section in a grant proposal) so that
the most relevant citations have to be chosen with care.  But for most
journals (certainly those where one tries to give a *complete* description
of what one has done), a limitation in the number of references is not
necessary, and with a decent literature managing program, the referencing
shouldn't be a big  problem.

Seriously, though, it seems to me that if one wants ones programs to have
appropriate citations, there should be a section in the program
documentation at the beginning which states the conditions for program
use, including how to cite the programs - which paper(s) to cite, etc. In
this field we tend to provide the programs free (which I support), but it
is not too much, then, to expect appropriate citation of the references. 
If this were routinely included in the documentation, then as reviewers,
we could enforce, to some degree, appropriate citation. 

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On Sun, 30 Nov 1997, Dave Curtis wrote:

> Ellen, it was pretty much a joke when I said I'd sometimes rather use
> LINKAGE to avoid having to make so many citations. However I have come
> across the situation where a journal, e.g. for a letter or short report,
> severely restricts the total number of citations. I also sometimes 
> slightly resent having to do two citations for FASTLINK when so far as I
> recall the second paper describes improvements which only bring minor
> advantages and/or only in certain situations. With LINKAGE I only cite
> one reference, even though strictly speaking one should use one for
> LINKMAP and one for MLINK. I assume that the LINKAGE authors are less
> concerned with how many citations they get nowadays.

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