The world of Science is dependent on citing references within publications. The number of citations (and journal in which it appears) are often used as some kind of assessment of each paper. Papers however can be referred to for reasons other than their quality or the positive influence they may have had on the thinking of subsequent authors.
Today’s invention is therefore a system which encourages an author to add information to each reference which says why the citation occurred. At its simplest, each reference could be tagged with symbols which reflect the extent to which it reports novel(N), professionally-undertaken(P) and important work(I). There might also be symbols for “my findings support those of this paper” and vice versa. Each of these signs might also be given a quantitative measure of the extent to which they applied (ie 5I=>”very important work”).
All of this could be made compatible with the semantic web (as currently under construction) and thus allow more meaningful, up to date rating of the cumulative value of an author’s contributions.