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What are the requirements for being "citable?"

by Raemon1 min read28th Nov 20198 comments


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A sort of... "stretch goal", for the 2018 Review, is developing a system wherein LessWrong has proven itself credible enough for some posts to actually be citable by other institutions.

I'm not sure how much of this has to do with "just actually do a good job ensuring accuracy/relevance", and how much has to do with "jumping through arbitrary hoops", and how hard those hoops are to jump through.

Two obvious things to shoot for might be:

  • Being considered a valid source by wikipedia
  • Being considered a valid source by google scholar.

I'm curious if anyone is familiar with how either of those work, in detail, and whether this is an achievable goal.

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8 comments, sorted by Highlighting new comments since Today at 3:03 PM

Huh, that looks much simpler than the wikipedia rules. (I had looked at the wikipedia rules before posting this, saw that they were fairly complicated and looked like they probably involved a lot of judgment/politics, and the question I guess I had was "okay, but what are the real rules?")

I'm not sure whether LessWrong can realistically meet the google scholar requirements (it sounds like it matters that a critical mass of the content needs to be formatted and oriented a particular way), but it might be plausible for Alignment Forum?

GS is just an automated web scraping and search engine service. It can't be picky the way WP is. If you use the necessary <meta> tags (which can be auto-generated from the existing user+title metadata), it's unclear why it wouldn't be picked up by GS eventually.

Serendipitously, I added those <meta> tags to gwern.net just last week after a Twitter discussion about how and whether to get DOIs. At least in theory, I shouldn't need to get DOIs to get better visibility, but as a backup, I also registered a GS profile which may or may not let me enter pages manually. In my experience, GS updates quite slowly (I think because GS seems to be a skeleton crew passion project and not integrated into regular Google Search), so we'll see in a few months if any of this did any good.

As far as WP goes, I'm not sure what can be done. As a group blog anyone can post to, being a LW post can never confer any particular notability or RSness on its own. It has to be a case by case basis. Given the ever more deletionist approach of remaining WP editors, that will be difficult even for cases where a LW post is a very good writeup on something and would make an excellent External Link addition, unless it is something like an official statement or interview etc. (Obviously, if a MIRI staffer posts an official piece of MIRI news, there would be no problem citing it in the MIRI article. Stuff like that.) Wikipedians crave status, and so the best way really is to somehow promote pieces into formal publications in somewhere (anywhere) Peer-Reviewed™ and treat a LW post as a preprint.

Google Scholar has already indexed (the AF version of) at least one of my posts.

Do you think that’s because someone cited it, or because it was just vaguely formatted right?

No citations are listed, probably because of the formatting.

Could auto-export posts to pdf, and just have a pile of those somewhere?

Entries from PhilPapers are automatically indexing to Google Scholar. But they need to be formated as scientific articles. So, if the best LW posts will be crossposted to the PhilPapers, it will increase their scientific visibility, but not citations (based on my experience).

Really groundbreaking posts like Meditation on Moloh by Scott Alexander will be cited anyway just because they are great.