Office, E. et al
Second year graduate student Jane Conway is in stable condition after being rescued from the citation rabbit hole in which she’d been trapped for 48 straight hours.
Conway was finalizing the references section of her thesis proposal when she began to slide down a slippery slope of infinitely nested references. “I was almost done–just needed to cite that one classic genetics experiment in my intro section,” she recounted. “But Richards et. al. (2018) had cited Johnson et. al. (2007) who cited Kim et. al. (1993) who cited Morris et. al. (1978) who cited Rogers et. al. (1966) who cited…”
Recognizing the warning signs of a citation rabbit hole, Conway’s thesis adviser, Mary Rutherford, PhD, cut her off. “Her deadline was Friday at noon,” she recalled. “But late Thursday evening, I had yet to receive the usual email barrage of last-minute questions.” Certain something had gone wrong, Rutherford called the university’s Emergency Manuscript Services (EMS).
On-call EMS librarians initiated rescue protocols, activating their full range of biomedical research databases and automatic citation generator websites. In a record breaking 7 minutes, Conway and her problematic reference were found buried under three expensive paywalls. After a few hastily coordinated inter-library loans and an $8.99 article rental fee, Conway was finally freed.
In light of these events, we encourage readers to review the American Association for Advanced Academic Help (AAAAH) guidelines for safe citing.
Tl;dr – never cite alone and always tell someone when and where you are citing, just in case of emergency.