In academic writing, is it proper to cite something to provide it as an example of something else? For instance, we have lines like this in a number of our papers:
Many research endeavors, including environmental and coastal hazard prediction , climate modeling , high-energy physics simulations [3,4], and genome mapping  generate large data volumes on a yearly basis.
Each citation is merely providing an example of a research project that generates large volumes of data (more often than not, it's not even a paper, just a URL), and content from the cited source is not otherwise used anywhere in the paper.
I suppose I tend to think of citations as references to work whose content contributes to a significant portion of content in the paper. A citation then indicates some kind of "weighty" relation between the paper and the thing being cited. In the example I provided, it seems to me that invoking the "weighty" power of citation simply to say "yes, such a data producing project of this type does in fact exist, in case you were wondering"--and doing so five times--is somewhat excessive and that it might serve better as a footmark.
To me it seems these should either be footnotes or just be left out. In any case, it seems they should not go in the bibliography.