[Python-ideas] Add a __cite__ method for scientific packages

Guido van Rossum guido at python.org
Wed Jun 27 18:49:35 EDT 2018

While I'm not personally in need of citations (and never felt I was) I can
easily understand the point -- sometimes citations can make or break a
career and having written a popular software package should be acknowledged.

Are there other languages or software communities that do something like
this? It would be nice not to have to invent this wheel. Eventually a PEP
and an implementation should be presented, but first the idea needs to be
explored more.


On Wed, Jun 27, 2018 at 3:30 PM Andrei Kucharavy <andrei.kucharavy at gmail.com>

> Over the last 10 years, Python has slowly inched towards becoming the most
> popular scientific computing language, beating or seriously challenging
> Matlab, R, Mathematica and many specialized languages (S, SAS, ...) in
> numerous applications.
> A large part of this growth is driven by amazing community packages, such
> as numpy, scipy, scikits-learn, scikits-image, seaborn or pandas, just to
> name a few. Development of such packages represents a significant time
> investment by people working in academic environments. To be able to
> justify the investment of time into such package development and support,
> the developers usually associated them with a scientific article. The
> number of citations of those articles are considered as measures of the
> usefulness of articles and are required to justify the time spent on them.
> Unfortunately, as of now, a significant issue is that such packages are
> not cited despite being extensively used. Part of this is due to the
> difficulties with compiling the list of proper citations for each module
> (and, for libraries associated with multiple update publications, selecting
> the relevant citation). Part of this is due to users not realizing which of
> the modules they are using have associated publications and should be cited.
> To remediate to that situation, I suggest a __citation__ method associated
> to each package installation and import. Called from the __main__,
> __citation__() would scan __citation__ of all imported packages and return
> the list of all relevant top-level citations associated to the packages.
> As a scientific package developer working in academia, the problem is
> quite serious, and the solution seems relatively straightforward.
> What does Python core team think about addition and long-term maintenance
> of such a feature to the import and setup mechanisms? What do other users
> and scientific package developers think of such a mechanism for citations
> retrieval?
> Best,
> *Andrei Kucharavy*Post-Doc @ *Joel S. Bader*
> * Lab*Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, USA.
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--Guido van Rossum (python.org/~guido)
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