Quotation Errors in General Science Journals

Date
2020
Authors
Smith, Neal Jr
Cumberledge, Aaron
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Abstract
Due to the incremental nature of scientific discovery, scientific writing requires extensive referencing to the writings of others. The accuracy of this referencing is vital, yet errors do occur. These errors are called ‘quotation errors’. This paper presents the first assessment of quotation errors in high-impact general science journals. A total of 250 random citations were examined. The propositions being cited were compared with the referenced materials to verify whether the propositions could be substantiated by those materials. The study found a total error rate of 25%. This result tracks well with error rates found in similar studies in other academic fields. Additionally, several suggestions are offered that may help to decrease these errors and make similar studies more feasible in the future.
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Citation
Smith, N. & Cumberledge, A. (2020). Quotation errors in general science journals. Proceedings of the Royal Society A, 476, Article 20200538. https://doi.org/10.1098/rspa.2020.0538
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