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Q & A: References

Q & A: References

Going through my pending questions to address in Q&A posts, I found this short question:

I recently sent an article to a journal and they turn to me and ask to precise the dates I accessed some reference I cited but I don’t know ” exact dates” for some.

Do you have any advice on this?

My best guess is that the reference was a website. Since the contents of websites can be dynamic, it is important to add to your reference the date when you accessed it. If you don’t remember the date you accessed it, you can do two things:

  1. Try to remember when you wrote the part in your article where you referred to the website, and use that date.
  2. Visit the website again and check if the contents is still the same. In that case, today’s date is your last accessed date.

If you want to make sure the contents you refer to will remain available, you can use the Wayback Machine and manually put the link in there. You’ll then get a new link with the archived version of the website.

As a general piece of advice (and speaking from my role of editor): being meticulous with the references is something editors greatly appreciate. Especially for smaller journals that do not have an army of copyeditors and typesetters, it’s important that authors make sure that the references are correct, and entered correctly as metadata in the system (if the journal requires this).

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