A Standardization Effort in Academic Writing in Social Sciences: ISNAD Citation Style – Türkiye
There are more than 6,000 bibliographic styles around the world. The most common academic writing and citation styles have emerged since the beginning of the 20th century. Chicago style (The Chicago Manual of Style, CMOS, CMS) was introduced by the University of Chicago in 1906, and its 17th edition was released in 2017. The APA style (The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, APA) was published in 1952, and the 7th edition was released in 2019. Most university students in Turkey cannot be fully taught how to use one of the citation styles, such as Chicago and APA. When master’s and doctoral theses completed in Turkey are examined in terms of compliance with citation formats, it is seen that most theses are not written in these formats. However, it is considered necessary to be used in thesis writing guides. The same is true for academic publications in the types of articles and books written by faculty members. Few academic books in Turkey are published in accordance with these styles. While some Institutes or publishers require academic works to be written in Chicago, APA, or other citation styles, it is clear that these styles are not generally taught to students. Several reasons can be listed for this result. Styles such as Chicago and APA and academic publications, which were written in English, have been prepared as guidelines. Turkish students or academics can access the full texts of these styles in English either by purchasing the book format or by subscribing to the electronic versions of these styles by their universities. These two access options are not common in our country, as they require payment of a fee. If there are Turkish translations of styles such as Chicago and APA, using them is also an option. For example, it is possible to obtain the Turkish translation of the 6th edition, the old version of the APA, in PDF format free of charge. However, even translations of older editions of other citation styles are sold as commercial products and are not freely available. The information in styles such as Chicago and APA is updated, and new editions are made available over time. The current version of the APA, the 7th edition, was published in English with 428 pages in 2019, and the 17th edition of Chicago was published in 2017 with 1144 pages in English. As of August 2022, they do not have Turkish translations. Even if they are translated into Turkish, students can only access their full texts by purchasing them. Researchers who submit their work to an institute or journal that requests the use of Chicago and APA styles usually prepare their studies by looking at the examples of one of the different editions they find on the internet. In this case, researchers are often unaware of which editions of Chicago style, which has 17 editions, or APA, which has seven editions, they are looking at. If universities require styles such as Chicago or APA for dissertation writing, Turkish universities should subscribe to them and make them freely available to their students, as do European and US universities. However, access to their English texts will not be a complete solution. These styles, prepared to write academic texts in English, will need to be translated into Turkish and made available to students. Whenever these styles are available to students and researchers in full text, awareness will increase that Chicago and APA styles do not only contain 3-5 pages of information on footnote and bibliography. These styles contain all the basic information students and researchers should know about academic research and writing. This is why APA’s English has 428 pages and Chicago style has 1144 pages. The styles, such as Chicago and APA, cannot be learned correctly by students in Turkey due to the difficulty of accessing the full English texts of these styles and the Turkish translations of the current editions. Thus, supervisors, editors, and publishers, who have to check and correct Turkish academic texts, face many negative consequences. Due to the lack of knowledge of academic writing and citation, academic ethical violations can be made by students and researchers unintentionally. To eliminate all these negativities, the ISNAD Citation System was developed with the project support of Sivas Cumhuriyet University in 2018. ISNAD is a Turkey-based academic writing and citation system developed in Turkish for use in academic studies. It will also be effective in preventing ethical violations if students learn how to conduct scientific research and cite sources correctly from a system written in Turkish in their mother tongue. To achieve this result, it is necessary to provide students with an accessible style where they can learn academic research and writing. The ISNAD Citation System has been prepared and used for this purpose. Access to the full text and web version of ISNAD is completely free. English, Arabic, and Persian translations of ISNAD are also available free of charge. It will also be translated into Azerbaijani, Kyrgyz, Uzbek, and other Turkish languages. ISNAD can also be used with Citation management software such as Zotero, EndNote, and Citavi. Seminars are held free of charge, and lecture videos are broadcast on ISNAD Academy TV to popularize the use of ISNAD and learn how to use it with academic writing tools. User support is also provided to students 24/7 via the ISNAD website. Universities, publishers, and researchers can use ISNAD free of charge, which is offered with an open-access license. As of August 2022, 37 universities and 136 peer-reviewed journals are using ISNAD. ISNAD is more accessible to students and easier to learn. Citation styles differ according to the discipline. Disciplines that use up-to-date quantitative data such as questionnaires and interviews prefer to cite (in-text system/Author-Date) by specifying the publication date immediately after the author’s surname. The branches of science trying to reach the oldest written sources, such as manuscripts, archival documents, and classical Works, cite the source name after the author’s name (system with footnotes/Author-Title). ISNAD has both in-text and footnote versions. However, in the academic texts written in both versions, the works are written in the same order and format in the bibliography. Therefore, ISNAD is suitable for all branches of science. Preparing the bibliography in a single format allows the bibliography data to be presented as “clean data.” Accepting ISNAD as a reference system by universities and journals will also contribute to the standardization of academic writing. Thus, “clean metadata” will be provided to academic databases and indexes using bibliographic data. Currently, the metadata of academic publications based in Turkey is not very qualified and not visible enough from abroad. In reaching the goal of adopting Turkish as the language of science, it is already necessary to have a citation style developed in Turkish. ISNAD will continue to update itself with the opinions and suggestions of students and academicians and will remain open public at no charge.