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    One of the issues I had in grad school was keeping track of all the paper’s I’ve read. They might be fresh in my mind when I read them, but a week or month down the line I often found myself not remembering the content that well. This was especially problematic when you read a lot of papers in the same field and they started to blur together content wise in my mind. Maybe this issue is beyond the subject of this paper, but the author made it seem like they could easily remember the content based on literature citations.

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      I’ve definitely had this problem too - only in cases where I’d read a set of papers moer than once very carefully (for instance, to attempt to reimplement competing solutions), could I a set of related ones straight in my head.

      The suggestion to skim then look at references made it sound like a joke to me at first, but on second reading it’s clear they’re just suggesting to scan them for refs you recognize. Even then I’m not sure I agree - I don’t usually look at the refs list by itself very often - I’ve reviewed enough papers that include a reference that seems relevant but when you look for discussion about it in the paper text, it’s some empty statement like “performance is increasingly important [2, 4, 6, 12, 14]”, which is pretty clearly just a parking lot for citations they felt they needed to include to look complete.

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        parking lot for citations

        I am going to use this. I can’t recall (hah) what the paper was but about a year ago I stumbled across one that was very close to another paper I was really fond of. So I scoured it looking for a reference. This new paper, nearly identical to the previous one only referenced it in the “parking lot”. I was a little bummed.