I am puzzled why citation is still so archaic for academic research papers.

It seems to me that all you need to cite a journal or a textbook is three things

  1. Names of the authors
  2. Date of publication
  3. Title of the work (and edition number if there is any)

To be honest, nowadays, just a url would suffice.

But any standard template requires you several additional, and seemingly unnecessary information, such as the publisher, which bothers me no end as these publishers change their names every few years.

What is more irrational is the inclusion of where the text is printed. Is it New York, Toronto, Cham, Mumbai, "Upper Saddle-River". What difference does it make? None.

Furthermore, some old journals or books are completely out of print, and the only thing that exist now is a PDF copy somewhere. So it doesn't even make sense to cite publishers, etc. The book is out of print!

Why is the citation system so archaic and time-consuming in a time where ALL your references are literally just one single click away? Why not require URL for all cited journals, textbooks, etc?

Note: Sorry if this sounds too complainy. Just wanted to get this off of my chest after my "John Wiley & Son" didn't compile in Latex for the 10th time since I forgot that & is not a recognized character.

  • 1
    Because people are not pushing hard enough to change the system. What ever the system is, some people will always be adversed to changes. If they are feeling really generous, they will point out one of the 0,00001 % of papers where your new idea will not work and use this as an argument. – Thomas Oct 30 '19 at 14:57
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    You do need something more permanent than a URL, which is what the DOI system is for (doi.org). "Clicking on a DOI link (try this one: doi.org/10.1109/5.771073) takes you to one or more current URLs or other services related to a single resource. If the URLs or services change over time, e.g., the resource moves, this same DOI will continue to resolve to the correct resources or services at their new locations." – Buzz Oct 30 '19 at 15:05