two different academic referencing styles: (Author Year) versus 1-3.
I argued that the (Author Year) format was increasingly useful the more embedded a reader was in a research field. But I was focused on the names, and whether a reader could identify the authors.
It occurred to me that even for a completely uninitiated reader, the year is potentially useful information. A claim that is supported by a reference from 1930 means something different than a claim supported by a reference from 2010.
Whether that difference is good or bad is hard to say. Readers could be be biased by knowing the year of research immediately. Some might automatically discount older references as out of date or obsolete, when the science might have stood the test of time and be completely accurate.
Photo by Cuppojoe on Flickr; used under a Creative Commons licence.