[Python-Dev] Official citation for Python

Wes Turner wes.turner at gmail.com
Sat Sep 15 13:12:32 EDT 2018

On Saturday, September 15, 2018, Jacqueline Kazil <jackiekazil at gmail.com>

> I just got caught up on the thread. This is a really great discussion.
> Thank you for all the contributions.
> Before we get into the details, let's go back to the main use case we are
> trying to solve.
> *As a user, I am writing an academic paper and I need to cite Python. *
> Let's throw reproducibility out the window for now (<--- something I never
> thought I would say), because that should be captured in the code, not in
> the citations.
> So, if we don't need the specific version of Python, then maybe creating
> one citation is all we need.
> And that gives it some good Google juice as well.

https://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&q=python+van+Rossum *




With an e.g. {Zotero,} group, it would be easy to cite the Python citation
with the greatest centrality.

A DOI URN/URI/URL really is easiest to aggregate the edges of/for.

- [ ] Link to the new citation(s) page in the Python docs from the SciPy
citing page


> Thoughts?
> (Once we nail down one or many, I think we can then move into the details
> of the content of the citation.)
> -Jackie
> On Thu, Sep 13, 2018 at 12:47 AM Wes Turner <wes.turner at gmail.com> wrote:
>> There was a thread about adding __cite__ to things and a tool to collect
>> those citations awhile back.
>> "[Python-ideas] Add a __cite__ method for scientific packages"
>> http://markmail.org/thread/rekmbmh64qxwcind
>> Which CPython source file should contain this __cite__ value?
>> ... On a related note, you should ask the list admin to append a URL to
>> each mailing list message whenever this list is upgraded to mm3; so that
>> you can all be appropriately cited.
>> On Thursday, September 13, 2018, Wes Turner <wes.turner at gmail.com> wrote:
>>> Do you guys think we should all cite Grub and BusyBox and bash and libc
>>> and setuptools and pip and openssl and GNU/Linux and LXC and Docker; or
>>> else it's plagiarism for us all?
>>> #OpenAccess
>>> On Wednesday, September 12, 2018, Stephen J. Turnbull <
>>> turnbull.stephen.fw at u.tsukuba.ac.jp> wrote:
>>>> Chris Barker via Python-Dev writes:
>>>>  > But "I wrote some code in Python to produce these statistics" --
>>>>  > does that need a citation?
>>>> That depends on what you mean by "statistics" and whether (as one
>>>> should) one makes the code available.  If the code is published or
>>>> "available on request", definitely, Python should be cited.  If not,
>>>> and by "statistics" you mean the kind of things provided by Steven
>>>> d'Aprano's excellent statistics module (mean, median, standard
>>>> deviation, etc), maybe no citation is needed.  But anything more
>>>> esoteric than that (even linear regression), yeah, I would say you
>>>> should cite both Python and any reference you used to learn the
>>>> algorithm or formulas, in the context of mentioning that your
>>>> statistics are home-brew, not produced by one of the recognized
>>>> applications for doing so.
>>>>  > If so, maybe that would take a different form.
>>>> Yes, it would.  But not so different: eg, version is analogous to
>>>> edition when citing a book.
>>>>  > Anyway, hard to make this decision without some idea how the
>>>>  > citation is intended to be used.
>>>> Same as any other citation, (1) to give credit to those responsible
>>>> for providing a resource (this is why publishers and their metadata of
>>>> city are still conventionally included), and (2) to show where that
>>>> resource can be obtained.  AFAICS, both motivations are universally
>>>> applicable in polite society.  NB: Replication is an important reason
>>>> for wanting to acquire the resource, but it's not the only one.
>>>> I think underlying your comment is the question of *what* resource is
>>>> being cited.  I can think of three offhand that might be characterized
>>>> as "Python".  First, the PSF, as a provider of funding.  There is a
>>>> conventional form for this: a footnote on the title or author's name
>>>> saying "The author acknowledges [a] <purpose of grant such as travel>
>>>> grant [grant identifier if available] from the Python Software
>>>> Foundation."  I usually orally mention them in presentations, too.
>>>> That one's easy; *everybody* should *always* do that.
>>>> The rest of these, sort of an ideal to strive for.  If you keep a
>>>> bibliographic database, and there are now quite a few efforts to crowd
>>>> source them, it's easier to go the whole 9 yards than to skimp.  But
>>>> except in cases where we don't need to even mention the code, probably
>>>> we should be citing, for reasons of courtesy to readers as well as
>>>> authors, editors, and publishers (as disgusting as many publishers are
>>>> as members of society, they do play a role in providing many resources
>>>> ---we should find ways to compete them into good behavior, not
>>>> ostracize them).
>>>> The second is the Python *language and standard library*.  Then the
>>>> Language Reference and/or the Library Reference should be cited
>>>> briefly when Python is first mentioned, and in the text introducing a
>>>> program or program fragment, with a full citation in the bibliography.
>>>> I tentatively suggest that the metadata for the Language Reference
>>>> would be
>>>>     Author: principal author(s) (Guido?) et al. OR python.org OR
>>>>         Python Contributors
>>>>     Title: The Python Language Reference
>>>>     Version: to match Python version used (if relevant, different
>>>>         versions each get full citations), probably should not be
>>>>         "current"
>>>>     Publisher: Python Software Foundation
>>>>     Date: of the relevant version
>>>>     Location: City of legal address of PSF
>>>>     URL: to version used (probably should not be the default)
>>>>     Date accessed: if "current" was used
>>>> The Library reference would be the same except for Title.
>>>> The third is a *particular implementation*.  In that case the metadata
>>>> would be
>>>>     Author: principal author(s) (Guido) et al. OR python.org OR
>>>>         Python Contributors
>>>>     Title: The cPython Python distribution
>>>>     Python Version: as appropriate (if relevant, different versions each
>>>>         get full citations), never "current"
>>>>     Distributor Version: if different from Python version (eg,
>>>> additional
>>>>         Debian cruft)
>>>>     Publisher: Distributor (eg, PSF, Debian Project, Anaconda Inc.)
>>>>     Date: of the relevant version
>>>>     Location: City of legal address of distributor
>>>> If downloaded:
>>>>     URL: to version used (including git commit SHA1 if available)
>>>>     Date accessed: download from distributor, not installation date
>>>> If received on physical medium: use the "usual" form of citation for a
>>>> collection of individual works (even if Python was the only thing on
>>>> it).  Probably the only additional information needed would be the
>>>> distributor as editor of the collection and the name of the
>>>> collection.
>>>> In most cases I can think of, if the implementation is cited, the
>>>> Language and Library References should be cited, too.
>>>> Finally, if Python or components were modified for the project, the
>>>> modified version should be preserved in a repository and a VCS
>>>> identifier provided.  This does not imply the repository need be
>>>> publicly accessible, of course, although it might be for other reasons
>>>> (eg, in a GSoC project,wherever or if hosted for free on GitHub).
>>>> I doubt that "URNs" like DOI and ISBN are applicable, but if available
>>>> they should be included in all cases as well.
>>>> Steve
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>>>> wes.turner%40gmail.com
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> --
> Jacqueline Kazil | @jackiekazil
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