N – Journals should police citations

Journals should require corresponding authors to formally acknowledge that they take responsibility for the completeness, accuracy, and interpretation of a manuscript’s references, a BMJ editorial argues (2009;339:b2049). Inappropriate citation in articles can be replicated, leading to “bias, amplification, and invention,” disrupting scientific progress. A linked study gives examples of serious consequences of bad citations (2009;339:b2680). In medical research the result can be harm to patients. When writing a paper, researchers should go back to primary studies cited to ensure any later interpretation is valid, and primary data to support claims should be included in every paper.