B – The virtues of correct citation

Mertens S, Baethge C. The virtues of correct citation: careful referencing is important but is often neglected even in peer reviewed articles. Deutsches Ärzteblatt International 2011;108(33):550-552 doi:10.3238/arztebl.2011.0550

References in scientific publications often contain errors, such as their choice and placing. The following mistakes can appear: the source does not support the statement (quotation error); the reference citation is placed in such a way that it is not clear which statement it relates to; the bibliographic data are incomplete or wrong (citation errors). The authors carried out a small pilot study of references in Deutsches Ärtzeblatt, which results indicated an error rate in references of around 20%, on the basis of a conservative estimate. It would be helpful to describe how the authors selected the references they have used, if there were inclusion and exclusion criteria, which databases were searched and so on.
Thanks to James Hartley.