Nice like you, Ivi … Part 3

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The story so far: I am trying to learn the meaning of Ivi when used in a footnote. The only instances found so far are in four papers written by Dr Marco Soddu, all published online in Foreign Policy Journal.  At least two of Soddu’s papers are academically dubious to the point of plagiarism – and beyond.

Meanwhile, We are no closer to working out what Ivi means or how it is used.  Now read on:

The search for Ivi

Ivi is used – at least, it is used by Marco Soddu, as shown in this footnote from Kennedy and Macmillan (FPJ, December 18, 2012).  Soddu seems to use Ivi to mean “in the same source as the previous citation, but on a different page of that source; material used from the same source and the same page as the previous citation are shown as Ibidem.”

One problem is, Ibidem does not necessarily point to the previously named/cited source – but that could be an effect of Soddu’s plagiarism.  The previously cited source is not necessarily the source of any quotation which Soddu uses. He has been cavalier in his referencing.

The next step had to be to find out what citation style Foreign Policy Journal uses. The FPJ‘s Submission Guidelines page suggests that they use the Chicago Manual of Style, at least now, in 2015. The only Latin abbreviation which Chicago uses in footnotes nowadays, as noted in Part 1, is Ibid.; no other Latin abbreviations are used. Of course, FPJ’s instructions to authors in 2012 might have been different.

So, not helpful.

What about other papers in Foreign Policy Journal? Do other writers use this abbreviation? It should be possible to find instances, if Soddu is writing to the FPJ house-style.

Putting on the style

It turns out that, despite the note to contributors, there is no FPJ house-style. Or at least, there wasn’t in the second half of 2012, the date of publication of the other papers I looked at.

Soddu uses superscript numbered footnotes, and at the end of the paper there is a bibliography split into types of source, alphabetical by surname though listed as firstname lastname.  His bibliography includes a couple of web sites – sites, but not specific pages, and there is no author, no title, no date of publication or access; he uses just the URL.  The bibliography also includes sources used (claimed to have been used) but which are not cited in the text;  unlike some other style guides, the Chicago manual of style permits this.

What, then, of other papers?  The first I looked at was by Jeremy R Hammond (who happens to be owner and chief editor of FPJ), His paper, The Lies that Led to the Iraq War and the Persistent Myth of ‘Intelligence Failure’ (Foreign Policy Journal, September 8, 2012) uses three hyperlinked citations in the first paragraph of the text, and thereafter no references, hyper-linked or otherwise, at all. There is some form of citation in the text, as at the foot of page 4, where we see: “The Associated Press reported… ,” “USA Today claimed… ,” “The headline in the Christian Science Monitor declared… ,” ‘”the London Telegraph proclaimed …” and so on, but there are no dates or web pages given, nothing to help the reader find out more or verify the statements.

In another paper by Jeremy Hammond, The Logical Flaws of the Supreme Court’s Ruling on the Affordable Care Act (Foreign Policy Journal, July 8, 2012), Hammond uses numbered footnotes (including ibid, and ibid with different page numbers, too. He  uses neither Ibidem nor Ivi.  Like Soddu, he uses full authors in firstname lastname order, but this time he includes authors, titles and dates of web pages, as well as URLs. There is no bibliography, just the footnotes.

Joanna Diane Caytas’s paper, Justifying the Kony Wars: Targeted Manufacture and Use of Synthetic Evidence (Foreign Policy Journal, November 13, 2012) is similar: there is no bibliography, but the numbered footnotes include full details of sources, including those found online.  But Caytas uses lastname, firstname in her notes:

Kevin Ryan’s The USS Cole: Twelve years later, no justice or understanding (Foreign Policy Journal, October 10, 2012) uses parenthetical endnote indications in the text [6]

with a list of endnotes in number order (at the end, but of course)

Clearly, Foreign Policy Journal has no house-style for citations and references – or it didn’t in 2012. it appears to now.

But the Submission Guidelines do not increase one’s confidence. The paragraph on referencing, the one which requests that Chicago manual of style format be followed,  starts:

If you provide sources for information in your article (which is highly encouraged)…

and ends:

“Be prepared to provide sources if requested by the editor.”

Hmmm. Surely an academic would provide sources as a matter of course? It should be second nature – encouragement should surely not be necessary, a request for sources would surely be an exception?  Maybe I am just too naive?

The page includes several notes on this page about the reading and review process,which, it is claimed, is “rigorous”: “If you submit a paper to FPJ, expect it to undergo more rigorous review by the editor and be prepared to work with him to address any concerns or take his comments into consideration.”  Not rigorous enough, I fear, in the case of Dr Marco Soddu.

There is also a Disclaimer which points out that Foreign Policy Journal is NOT the journal Foreign Policy, published by the Washington Post.

More pause for thought.  Just what is the Foreign Policy Journal?

FPJ, according to the About (us) page, aims

to challenge the narratives and narrow framework for discussion presented by the U.S. mainstream media that serve to manufacture consent for government policy. FPJ offers information and perspectives all too lacking in the public debate on key foreign policy issues.

More pause.

With my Journal of Historical Review experience in mind, I set about finding more information on Foreign Policy Journal. It is not listed in SourceWatch, and it isn’t listed in Jeffrey Beall’s list of Potential, possible, or probable predatory scholarly open-access journals either.

So good, so far.

I did find reference to Foreign Policy Journal in a post on UNWatch where it is suggested that FPJ is often confused with Foreign Policy and/or Foreign Affairs, but in fact

“Foreign Policy Journal” appears to be a one-man website, dedicated to extremist anti-American and anti-Israeli rants, with that one man, Jeremy R. Hammond, who describes himself as self-employed and living in Cross Village, Michigan, being a prolific 9/11 Truther.

I haven’t checked out UNWatch itself yet – so this may be trumped up, but everything I am finding out about FPJ suggests it is not all it seems.  Just as a website suffix “.org” is no guarantee of credible and authoritative content, so may the term “journal” not always be guarantee of academic rigour.

Amongst other things, It might be worth looking more closely at other papers published by FPJ, not just for their citations and referencing, but for their content. I certainly would if I wanted to use any FPJ material in an academic paper.

Ivi – a classical problem

We are left with Dr Marco Soddu’s dubious papers, and the Ivi problem, and with the decidedly female Dr Donette Murray, whom Soddu seems to think is male (see Part 2).

Now, if we want to use Latin terms and abbreviations, that could cause great problems.

While (as noted earlier) most style guides have dispensed with Latin abbreviations in footnotes, and the Chicago manual of style lists only Ibid or Ibid., Robert M. Ritter’s The Oxford Guide to Style lists a number of terms which one may come across. Ritter (555 ff) lists terms such as Ibid. (which, says Ritter, can be used with a  different page number), Op. cit. and Loc. cit., Idem quod and Id. and Ead, and Eaed and Eid

Ritter notes that ‘Id’ is used for the same male author but a different work, while ‘Ead’ is used for the same female author and different work. If we want to cite (a second time) the work of two authors at least one of whom is definitely male, though the other may be male or female, then the “correct” term, Oxford-style, is ‘Eid.’ Yikes!

That does not help us with a single female author who is believed (by Soddu if by nobody else) to be male, but perhaps this is carrying the notion too far? Few major style guides continue to use these Latin terms, and we can all be grateful for that. Indeed, in an update to the guide, New Hart’s Rules: The Handbook of Style for Writers and Editors Ritter acknowledges that we cannot always know the gender of an author, and suggests that it may be better always to “repeat an author’s name in a new citation” (321).

Obscure they may be, but we do need to be aware of these abbreviations, their uses and meanings. Even if we do not use them ourselves, we are still likely to come across them, and we need to know (or be able to ask or find out) what they mean.

Ritter, alas, does not explain Ivi. But I may just have tracked it down! Marco Soddu, we are informed by a biographical note at the foot of his FPJ papers, works at Cagliari University in Italy; his name is almost certainly Italian.

And Ivi is, it seems, Italian for Ibid

…  I wonder if Marco Soddu simply got his languages mixed up, along with his sources?  Is Ivi used in academic texts written in Italian?

One last thought.

I have spent several hours on this investigation, and a few more writing it up. How careful should students, especially secondary school students and undergraduates, be in their use of sources? We ask them to evaluate sources, to be aware of bias and biases. Can students be expected to follow up to this extent?

I have advised Ruth’s student to avoid Dr Marco Soddu’s paper, and to verify any information, claims or quotations found therein that she wants to use. She can cite these other sources, if she can find them, if she finds what she needs, but she should not cite (for preference) Soddu.

At this stage, I would also advise very careful use of Foreign Policy Journal, in that it is not peer-reviewed, the editorial process could well be lacking, it appears to have major biases of which one must be aware, and it is not as authoritative as we might wish. Close inspection of other papers in FPJ is needed before making a firmer statement.

The standard advice holds, especially with regard to secondary references and indirect sources: go to the original and use that. If you cannot find or access the original, attempt to get independent verification of secondary source material, or use something else entirely. That need not take several hours. In short, if you can’t verify, don’t use it.

Ruth’s innocent query sent me on an unexpected journey, a voyage of discovery. Isn’t serendipity wonderful?  Thank you, Ruth.

5 thoughts on “Nice like you, Ivi … Part 3

    • Thanks, Judith. You’re right, Italian it is.

      The irony is that, if I had already known the answer to Ruth’s question, or if I had known or found out that ivi is used in Italian academic texts, I might have found “Sistemi di citazione”
      – and not investigated further. I wouldn’t have found the plagiarism. Not that I am happy about that, but perhaps sometimes we can know too much?

      It is also ironic that if this paper had been put through Turnitin or other text-matching “plagiarism detection” software – and the quotations (those in quotation marks and those indented) had been ignored – then once again the plagiarism might have gone unnoticed.

      It was my ignorance (and time to spare) which took me on this journey, hugely ironic.

  1. Well, thank you very much! I am proofreading a thesis in English, but written by an Italian student. ‘Ivi’ has been quietly driving me mad. Would it be correct for me to just change all the ‘ivi’s to ‘ibid’?

    • That’s an interesting question, Frith. I’m not sure that there is a “correct” way to handle this.

      I think I would consider the audience or readership: given that the thesis is in English, the readers are less likely to be familiar with Italian footnoting conventions, and “ibid” would be useful, helpful. You would have found this helpful!

      Thinking even harder, I would use “ivi only only if I was submitting this to a publisher or university in Italy. Are you able to ask the student what s/he would prefer? That could be the best approach?


  2. Hi, I’m an Italian > English translator, and the level of plagiarism and failure to fully cite sources (meaning that the author of an idea or quote is stated, but no real source is provided) is rampant among Italian academics and journalists in particular. I consistently bring this up to my Italian clients and they like to tell me: “oh I wrote it in the paper so I must have read it somewhere. Don’t worry about it.”
    In any case, I can confirm that ivi is ibid and I generally translate it as such.

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