I’ve been using collaborative document editing a lot with my students this year, and while this has been one of my more successful educational experiments, referencing is a problem.

The issue occurs because I would like my students to correctly reference their sources using APA referencing (the gold standard in the health professions), however it’s also important that they record their contributions.   Typically when a document is published, the authors write their names at the top either in order of contributional significance or status.  When many authors are collaboratively editing the same document merely recording the authors names at the top of the document as an author is really insufficient.

If student A comes along & contributes 2/3 of the content, student B contributes most of the rest, and students C-G make merely superficial changes, why should all of them be given equal credit for this work?  It seems that there’s a need for each contribution to be referenced according to both the original source of the material, and the contributor of that information to the collaborative document editing project.

So far, I’m at a bit of a loss as to how this can be achieved, but it seems that the old style of referencing doesn’t stack up to these new methods of document creation.  Perhaps we need an APA 2.0, or something new altogether.

I’d be interested to hear about anyone else’s experiences and/or thoughts on this matter.

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