Pingbacks are essentially dead and in personal experience some of the few sites that still support them are in academia, but they’re relatively rare and have horrible UI in the best of times. Webmention is a much better evolutionary extension of the pingback idea and have been rapidly growing since before the spec was standardized by the W3C.
I’ve sketched out how individual academics could use their own websites and publish pre-prints and syndicate them to pre-print servers and even to their final publications while still leveraging Webmentions to allow their journal articles, books, other works, to accept and receive webmentions from other web publications as well as social media platforms that reference them.
I think the Microformats process is probably the best standardized way of doing this with classes and basic HTML and there is a robust offering of parsers that work in a variety of programming languages to help get this going. To my mind the pre-existing
h-cite is probably the best route to use along with the well-distributed and oft-used
<cite> tag with authorship details easily fitting into the
As an example, if Zeynep were to cite Tessie, then she could write up her citation in basic HTML with a few microformats and include a link to the original paper (with a rel=”canonical” or copies on pre-print servers or other journal repositories with a rel=”alternate” markup). On publishing a standard Webmention would be sent and verified and Tessie could have the option of displaying the citation on her website in something like a “Citation” section. The Post Type Discovery algorithm is reasonably sophisticated enough that I think a “citation” like this could be included in the parsing so as to help automate the way that these are found and displayed while still providing some flexibility to both ends of the transaction.
Ideally all participants would also support sending salmentions so that the online version of the “officially” published paper, say in Nature, that receives citations would forward any mentions back to the canonical version or the pre-print versions.
Since most of the basic citation data is semantic enough in mark up the receiver with parsing should be able to designate any of the thousands of journal citation formats that they like to display any particular flavor on the receiving website, which may be it’s own interesting sub-problem.
Of course those wishing to use schema.org or JSON-LD could include additional markup for those as well as parsing if they liked.
Perhaps I ought to write a longer journal article with a full outline and diagrams to formalize it and catch some of the potential edge cases.