I've noticed we get a few questions with the tag.

Here are a few questions that have the tag:

From what I can see, the tag is often applied when the OP wants to make it explicit that they want an answer to provide references to the academic literature.

My sense is that the tag was originally designed for questions where the OP is trying to find a specific paper but can't remember what it was.

I think that the standard of evidence on this site is such that references are important for any good answer. This is just part of our standard of evidence. And that most questions without the reference request tag would still expect or hope to see references to the literature.

Furthermore, I can't imagine that questions that share this tag would have anything relevant in common. And for the size of the tag, only 2 people follow the tag; contrast this with something like social psychology with 11 followers.

I prefer the idea that people just indicate in the question body that they are explicitly seeking references to the scientific literature in.


So, do we need the reference-request tag?

  • 2
    I also believe it was for "name that paper" questions, which is kinda a guessing game... – Josh Sep 4 '13 at 4:24
  • 1
    No, we don't need it. – user3116 Sep 4 '13 at 9:13
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    It's also kinda a meta tag... looking bad for this tag's future! – Josh Sep 4 '13 at 14:46

This isn't an answer to whether or not we want , I'll let the community decide that.

This is an answer to say, as it is now, the tag is being misused and we should remove it from questions unless they are looking for a specific article.

As an example: What is the study which shows that babies can teach young children empathy?

I was looking for the actual name of the study. I knew there was a specific reference I was looking for. That's the proper use of this tag. Just "give me some reference, any old reference" is an incorrect use for this tag.

  • 1
    I gave the tag wiki a tweak to make this a little more explicit. – Jeromy Anglim Sep 6 '13 at 2:14

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