Changing Forms and Uses of Citations in the Journal Article Genre

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Abstract

We have witnessed disruptive changes due to the extraordinary social and epistemic instability of the current moment. If, on one hand, this instability has made the access to academic papers on the internet much easier, on the other hand, it has provoked important changes in the journal article genre itself in the era of digital text—since many authors have increasingly used excessive numbers of references to the detriment of their own voice. In order to theoretically problematize these disruptive changes in forms and uses of references in scholarly discourse in general, this article aims to discuss the impact of citations on journal articles, based upon the Bakhtinian notion of genre as ideologically grounded and determined by the specific nature of a particular sphere of activity, which develops its own relatively stable types of utterances, and upon the epistemic design process (design, designing and redesign). Such a discussion seeks to understand the journal article genre in changing knowledge ecologies, focusing on reliable uses and valid citation impact measures which go beyond the current quantitative impact factor metrics, so considering how citations can be used both for incremental knowledge refinement and for genuine renovation of the scholarly text.