A nice argument from Patrick Dunleavy: "What is the essential purpose of academic referencing? ...A completely out of date answer dominates current practice — namely...[directing readers] to the same precise sources and pages that you yourself used in constructing an argument or a case....Referencing should instead be about directly connecting readers to the full text of your sources, ideally in a one-stop way....In other words, modern referencing is not about pointing to some source details for books that cost a small fortune and are buried away in some library where the reader is not present; still less about pointing to source details for an article in a pay-wall journal to which readers do not have access....With open access spreading now we can all do better, far better, if we follow one dominant principle. Referencing should connect readers as far as possible to open access sources, and scholars should in all cases and in every possible way treat the open access versions of texts as the primary source...."
#oa #openaccess #references #citations
Although the argument makes a claim about 'replicability,' what it really seems to be speaking to is the growing expectation of immediacy --- that is, the apparent moral praiseworthiness we can credit authors or publishers who make it possible to click a link to retrieve a full text document versus the apparent moral blameworthiness of not being able to do so (and instead, e.g., having to find information that is "buried in some library").
Personally, I do look forward to the day when most if not all scientific or scholarly material is freely available as open access, but until that time comes, it seems to me that there would be some serious [moral and practical] implications if researchers intentionally only read and cited literature that is available with a single click of a button and ignored all the rest (as if the tendency to favor reporting positive findings is the only kind of bias that can exist).
Rather, the search and retrieval of good information might best be served by the same kind of activity that P. W. Bridgman described in 1955, that Gerald Holton picked up on in 1994, and that Susan Haack continued in 2003/07 about the scientific method --- that "it is nothing more than doing one's damnedest [...], no holds barred" (Bridgman, p. 534; Holton, p. 78; Haack, p. 24).