[Python-Dev] Official citation for Python

Steven D'Aprano steve at pearwood.info
Mon Sep 10 21:48:08 EDT 2018

On Mon, Sep 10, 2018 at 09:25:29PM +0200, Chris Barker via Python-Dev wrote:
> I"d like ot know what thee citations are expected to be used for?
> i.e. -- usually, academic papers have a collection of citiations to
> acknowledge where you got an idea, or fact, or .... It serves both to
> jusstify something and make it clear that it is not your own idea (i.e. not
> pagerism).

> That is about reproducible results, which is really a different thing than
> the usual citations.

I don't think it is. I think you are seeing a distinction that is not 
there. If citations were just about acknowledgement, we could say "I got 
this idea from Bob" and be done with it. Citations are about identifying 
the *exact* source so that anyone can reproduce the given ideas by 
checking not just "Bob" but the specific page number of a specific 
edition of a specific work.

So the requirement for precision is no different between papers and 
software, and the academic standards for citing software already take 
that into account. There are challenges with software, to be sure -- 
code is much more ephemeral, there may be literally hundreds of 
authors, etc. But in principle, the kinds of information needed to 
cite a software package is known. The major citation styles already 
include this. When you are using a specific style, this page:


suggests a few formats, depending on how you got access to the software.

The bottom line is, we don't have to guess what information to provide. 
People like Jacqueline can tell us what they need, and we'll just fill 
in the values.

The people citing Python know what information they need, we just have 
to help them get it. I think that the best way to do that is to provide 
the correct information in a single place, in a single, standard format, 
and let them choose the appropriate citation style for their 

Jackie, do I have that right?


More information about the Python-Dev mailing list