Certain journals (for example, Optics Express) place the references of papers in between the abstract and the article text:

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How common is this practice? Is there some specific design reason for this? As a casual reader, I find it disconcerting and annoying, and tend to see it as another barrier between googling the paper and actually getting at the text. However, I understand there may be other workflows for which this is useful. Can anyone point out possible justifications for this practice?

  • Maybe the example given is not the best one: since it's an erratum and it quotes only the article needing amendment, it might look like an exception and not a rule for the journal (while looking at the journal one indeed finds articles with a long list of references right after the abstract).
    – Ri49
    May 12 '14 at 19:49
  • 1
    I have found a better example; please see the updated question.
    – E.P.
    May 12 '14 at 19:53

Usually the article consists of three or four parts. Introduction, main text which is your original research and conclusion. There may also be an appendix. So, usually most of the citations are from the introduction because you mainly talk about the prevosly done researches there. So, when I read the introduction I have to constantly go back and forth to check the citations, but if the citations are located nearby the introduction, it is more convenient.

I read sceintific articles a lot and I can say that this is not a common practice in physics. I can't talk about the articles in other fields.

  • especially considering the article uses the "number system/stye" for citations. It's hard to keep track or who author "13" or "23", etc. is.
    – Derelict
    May 12 '14 at 20:39
  • @SoilSciGuy That is standard practice in large stretches os physics (and definitely in atomic, molecular and optical physics), and references are almost uniformly at the end (which is not to say that there isn't typically a lot of shuffling over between introduction and references).
    – E.P.
    May 13 '14 at 7:59
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    It's standard practice in a lot of journals, that doesn't mean it's the best practice.
    – Derelict
    May 13 '14 at 11:51

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