Monday, June 29, 2009

Article from The Scientist on "Citation Amnesia"

Interesting comment on citation practice in journal articles. Below is quoted only the first few paragraphs. Full article and comments from readers are well worth reading. Click on the title of this blog post for a link to the article.

The Scientist: NewsBlog:
Citation amnesia: The results
Posted by Bob Grant
[Entry posted at 25th June 2009 03:57 PM GMT]

Citing past scientific work in present-day research papers can be a slippery business. Contributions from competing labs can be lossed over, pertinent studies accidentally left out, or similar research not mentioned in an attempt to give the study at hand a sheen of novelty.

We at The Scientist often hear complaints from our readers concerning what they regard as either honest or purposeful omissions in the reference lists of high-profile scientific papers. So we conducted a study of our own to try and quantify the prevalence of these types of slights and ask our readers how the problem might be fixed.

Image: Wikimedia
Indeed, the vast majority of the survey's roughly 550 respondents -- 85% -- said that citation amnesia in the life sciences literature is an already-serious or potentially serious problem. A full 72% of respondents said their own work had been regularly or frequently ignored in the citations list of subsequent publications. Respondents' explanations of the causes range from maliciousness to laziness.
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