January 26, 2022

Journal Article: “Quotation Errors in General Science Journals”

The following article was recently published by Proceedings of the Royal Society A.


Errors in General Science Journals


Neal Smith
AdventHealth University
Orlando, FL

Aaron Cumberledge
Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology
Daegu, South Korea


Proceedings of the Royal Society A
October 2020
Volume 476 Issue 2242
DOI 10.1098/rspa.2020.0538


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.

Direct to Full Text Article (HTML)

Direct to Full Text Article
7 pages; PDF.

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.