One feature that I would like to see on this site would be some explicit support for citing scientific papers in the markdown syntax. In the simplest form this might be something like footnotes, in a more advanced form maybe some integration into Pubmed or similar databases.

Example: According to Nikolova et al.1 DNA can form transient Hogsteen base pairs ...

I know that we can achieve most of that by manually linking to the relevant articles. But I think an explicit option would encourage citing primary literature, which would improve the quality of this site. Manually creating a citation like my example is also a lot of work, it would be nice if the information could be automatically extracted given a Pubmed ID or by uploading/pasting a BibTex or RIS citation file.

An integration of DOI-linking could also be useful.

Some other sites, like physics or maths, would probably also benefit from functionality like this.

The code of the example citation in this post is

<sub>[\[1\] Nikolova et al., Transient Hoogsteen base pairs 
in canonical duplex DNA, *Nature* **470**, 498-502 (2011)][4]</sub>

[1] Nikolova et al., Transient Hoogsteen base pairs in canonical duplex DNA, Nature 470, 498-502 (2011)

  • 5
    Oh goodness yes. I've been bodging references with web page links, but it's far less than ideal. Feb 25, 2011 at 0:33
  • Without editing privileges it is impossible to see source of your footnotes (I am not sure how much it is important in this case, but it may be not obvious to you, as you can always edit your own post).
    – Suma
    Feb 26, 2011 at 19:50
  • @Suma You mean you can't see where the link goes? I'm not doing anything really fancy there, it should just be a link to the article
    – Mad Scientist Mod
    Feb 26, 2011 at 19:55
  • No, I can see the link just find, I just cannot see the code you have used to produce the link. If you say there is nothing fancy, the I am probably not missing much.
    – Suma
    Feb 26, 2011 at 19:57

1 Answer 1


What is wrong with the current form? It seems very close to how references are working in a plain text, I can hardly imagine anything even friendlier. Example:

  • this is a text [MDL].

From source:

- this is a text [[MDL]].

[MDL]: http://daringfireball.net/projects/markdown/syntax#link
  • 8
    You are talking about references to URLs. OP is talking about references to academic articles.
    – Oddthinking Mod
    Feb 26, 2011 at 5:22

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