One of the first major steps in the direction of modern skepticism came through the victory of Occam over Aquinas in a controversy about language. The statement that modi essendi were replaced by modi significandi et intelligendi, or that ontological referents were abandoned in favor of pragmatic significations, describes broadly the change in philosophy which continues to our time. From Occam to Bacon, from Bacon to Hobbes, and from Hobbes to contemporary semanticists, the progression is clear: ideas become psychological figments, words become useful signs.
Since the citation and the reference have different referents and are actually each other's mirror image, it does not seem very wise to blur the distinction between them. This distinction has moreover the advantage that the quest for a citation theory in scientometrics and the sociology of science splits into two different, analytically independent research problems: the patterns in the citing behaviour of scientists, social scientists and scholars in the humanities on the one hand, and the theoretical foundation of citation analysis on the other.