The paper draws together central research on scientific problem solving and scientific documentation from a number of fields and demonstrates its latent potential for a general theory of citing. Specifically, two philosophical works on scientific problem solving facilitate the clarification of how research traditions work as solution constrainers. The interdisciplinary field of diffusion research is shown to deal with issues related to the issue concerning scientistsí choice of problems, theories, and methods. A number of empirical composition studies dealing with the act of citing are examined and shown to contradict the mentalist assumption that scientific documentation is an act of private consciousness. The paper concludes with a preliminary outline of a general theory of citing and suggestions for further developments.