My question in broader terms is "What is the importance of scientific references in answers on Cognitive Sciences SE". In this regard it has overlap with What level of citing references or sources should be required for answers?, but that post is getting outdated and doesn't answer my question in specific either, as I am specifically interested in what I should do with missing references in an answer in a role as reviewer when looking at answers (either inside or outside a review queue).

The point is (without claiming which is better or worse) that at Biology SE referencing is taken pretty seriously, and I have noticed that quite some answers at Cognitive Sciences SE get upvoted while there is no mention of any sources whatsoever. Given I regard myself not familiar enough with the guidelines of Cognitive Sciences, I often refrain from performing a review task on answers with no references from newcomers, the more when I am not familiar with the topic (I am a biologist).

Nonetheless, at Biology SE I often ask for a few references anyway if I have my doubts, even if the question is outside my area of expertise, because references are much appreciated by me, and others on Biology SE.

What about folks on Cognitive Sciences? Is asking for references (and hence commenting, maybe even downvoting, or perhaps even flagging when in serious doubt) encouraged too?

  • It might be interesting to add which review queue in particular you are talking about. Regardless, I already added a more general answer, which seems very much in line with the other post you found.
    – Steven Jeuris Mod
    Jan 18, 2015 at 22:18
  • This is one of my hobby-horses--I think cogsci.SE could become a much more useful site if references were taken more seriously, but I don't think we as a community have come to a consensus about either the priority or the mechanism for it.
    – Krysta
    Jan 21, 2015 at 16:31

1 Answer 1


In the past, we have accepted flags stating lack of references in answers (especially if they get up voted and the answers are potentially erroneous). In this case, we can add a banner to the post stating it does not cite any sources, as depicted in the related post you link to.

enter image description here

However, I would guess it is just as useful to leave behind a request for references yourself as a comment, and not up vote the answer. It is not because others have up voted it you have to follow suit. Obviously down vote if you disagree with the answer. Also consider up voting other answers if they are more thorough, or add your own if you can provide an answer yourself which can reference actual scientific sources.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .