Scientific papers now citing blogs?
In my misspent youth I spent about a year as a visiting scholar researching wavelets under Raphy Coifman’s supervision at Yale’s small but excellent Mathematics Department. Professor Coifman was head of a department that also featured Benoît Mandelbrot (of fractals fame), the late Walter Feit (as in the Feit-Thompson theorem), and Fields medalist Gregory Margulis. He was kind enough to credit me on a published paper, even though he did all the work, reverse delegation in action. That paper had modest success and was cited, so I can claim (not with a straight face) to be a published mathematician.
While perusing my blog’s web analytics referrer report, I was surprised to find out my article on the Nikon D70’s not-so-raw RAW format is actually cited in a serious scientific paper on human vision. We keep hearing about students getting flunking grades for citing Wikipedia, are blogs really considered more authoritative?
The citation uses the old URL for the blog entry, </mylos/weblog/2004/05/02-1.html>. When I migrated to WordPress at the end of 2009, I took great pains to provide redirects whenever possible and avoid broken links. Many bloggers don’t have the time or expertise to do this, and simply leave dangling permalinks around. If quoting blogs is to become standard practice, authors should probably provide some sort of fallback mechanism like linking to Archive.org, but dead-tree journals do not have this capability. Absent that, linkrot may spread to an entire new category of documents, scientific papers.
Here’s another paper (PDF) referencing the same article. What’s next, CiteSeer?