long ago ideas

“When we are tired, we are attacked by ideas we conquered long ago." - Friedrich Nietzsche. Long ago, Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery conquered false claims that the Book of Mormon was fiction or that it came through a stone in a hat. But these old claims have resurfaced in recent years. To conquer them again, we have to return to what Joseph and Oliver taught.

Thursday, February 1, 2024

Citation cartels in the news

From time to time I still hear people complain about my use of the term "citation cartel" to refer to the small group of LDS intellectuals who promote M2C and SITH.

I've explained that I didn't coin the term. I borrowed it from the larger academic literature because it's an apt description of what is going on with LDS academics and apologetics. 

Here's a recent example of a citation cartel from Science magazine:


[see excerpts below]

We all see this at work in the Interpreter, Meridian Magazine, and the content of Book of Mormon Central. Another example is the way certain scholars have their work cited/referenced in the Joseph Smith Papers and Gospel Topics Essays, then in subsequent publications cite the JSP and GTE as authority for their own theories.

In the pursuit of clarity (no more contention), soon I'll be releasing an in-depth analysis of the problem, focusing on SITH initially.

"Soon" meaning whenever we've finished enjoying the southern hemisphere...


Excerpts from Science magazine:

Citation cartels help some mathematicians—and their universities—climb the rankings

Widespread citation manipulation has led entire field of math to be excluded from influential list of top researchers


The article points out how some scholars and universities use citation cartels to artificially boost their own influence as measured by the number of citations.

The conclusion is relevant to my point about the M2C/SITH citation cartels:

Cliques of mathematicians at institutions in China, Saudi Arabia, and elsewhere have been artificially boosting their colleagues’ citation counts by churning out low-quality papers that repeatedly reference their work, according to an unpublished analysis seen by Science. As a result, their universities—some of which do not appear to have math departments—now produce a greater number of highly cited math papers each year than schools with a strong track record in the field, such as Stanford and Princeton universities.

These so-called “citation cartels” appear to be trying to improve their universities’ rankings, according to experts in publication practices. ...

Other researchers say citation manipulation is simply a symptom of a flawed system of evaluation. Citations and similar metrics are not refined enough to monitor individual performance, says Ismael Rafols, a researcher at the Centre for Science and Technology Studies of the University of Leiden, and people are always going to find ways to game the system. Holden agrees: “The bottom line is that citations are not a good measure of scientific quality.”


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