Why journals still use author names as a citation format?


I am wondering why some journals are still using thecitation format by author names? 

What are the advantages of this citation form?

I do not see any.

On the other hand, the numeric citation format in the text body offers many advantages:

- reduce the length and the number of text word, gaining space and save print pages (save paper, save trees!); if a journal limits the word count, this also will help to gain words,

- avoid to be intermpted by, sometimes long, names with different alphabetical pronouncing and special characters,

- interumpt the reading flow by long author names within the phrases! It is very annoying for me when I read a text and pass over long author names after each short piece of text! This is particularly annoying when there is a lot of citations and we see long chains of author names or (author et al, author et al… author et al!!!) 

- homogeniety of the citation in the text compared to the author names, while with author names this is not the case because the citation changes (e.g. John Smith et al. 2013, John and Smith 2013…). It could be longer…



So, why some journals persist to use the author name citation format within the text? What are their arguments? 


Not specifically an EndNote issue, but this is my take: Disciplines have diverse requirements, which are often reflected in the in-text citation format used.

Wikipedia summarises author-date system http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parenthetical_referencing#Advantages (includes a section on disadvantages).

It is unfortunate that the copious number and often bizarre niceties of journal citation styles cause such frustration; however, the situation is unlikely to change in the foreseeable future.



I always prefer reading and writing a paper with author year citations.  I know at a glance without going to the back whether it is a citation I already know, about when it was published and it is easier to recognize it again if used again later and to spot if an incorrect reference is being used, during draft stages.  I have no problems “skipping” over it as I read and in todays electronic era, I don’t often print the paper, but read it on the computer. 

But even so, I make all my students use Author,year.for thesises and other reports for the lab or their degree reqirements, that I have control over, anyway.    

Thank you John for your comment.

It is true, not Endnote issue but Endnote should, in my mind, have some influence to improve the citation format but not to build on bad format!  

Anyway, it is clear that the disadvantages overweigh the advantages of the parenthetical citation, so it should be abandoned! Even if it is from ‘Harvard’, it is not the ideal format!

Thanks Leanne,

Maybe because you are used to use this format of citation. 

In thesis and local documents, it is less problematic than in journals’ aricles but for example in space and word limit journals, the numeric citation is much more practical.

And for reading, it is really annoying! and in the nupmeric era, we could know the author name easily by pointing the cursor on the number! 

In my view, it is the information that is important not the author name!