When I asked this on English.SE, the question was closed; it was suggested that I ask on Writers.SE instead. To be clear, I mean the section sign § (utf-8:
0xC2 0xA7), which is available via
\S in LaTeX,
§ in HTML, and
Compose+s+o in the X Window System.
In the main text of a scientific article, I write out the word "section", e.g., "In Section 3, I review the details of". For references, I like to specify a section to make the reference more specific and use the section sign, e.g., "as in Smith & Bloggs (1994, §8.2.5)".
Is this usage wrong or otherwise discouraged? I prefer using the symbol for brevity; a reference like "Smith & Bloggs (1994, Section 30.1.5)" seems awkward to me. However, one of my co-authors, who is usually right about grammar and style, disagrees.
If using the symbol in this way is wrong, then when should one use the section sign, if ever?
I could probably sidestep the issue by referring instead to pages. Is this preferred under standard citation practices?