MyCites: a proposal to mark and report inaccurate citations in scholarly publications.
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© The Author(s). 2020 Published in Research Integrity and Peer Review. This article is published under the Open Access publishing model and distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. Please refer to the licence to obtain terms for any further reuse or distribution of this work.
Background: Inaccurate citations are erroneous quotations or instances of paraphrasing of previously published material that mislead readers about the claims of the cited source. They are often unaddressed due to underreporting, the inability of peer reviewers and editors to detect them, and editors' reluctance to publish corrections about them. In this paper, we propose a new tool that could be used to tackle their circulation.
Methods: We provide a review of available data about inaccurate citations and analytically explore current ways of reporting and dealing with these inaccuracies. Consequently, we make a distinction between publication (i.e., first occurrence) and circulation (i.e., reuse) of inaccurate citations. Sloppy reading of published items, literature ambiguity and insufficient quality control in the editorial process are identified as factors that contribute to the publication of inaccurate citations. However, reiteration or copy-pasting without checking the validity of citations, paralleled with lack of resources/motivation to report/correct inaccurate citations contribute to their circulation.
Results and discussion: We propose the development of an online annotation tool called "MyCites" as means with which to mark and map inaccurate citations. This tool allows ORCID users to annotate citations and alert authors (of the cited and citing articles) and also editors of journals where inaccurate citations are published. Each marked citation would travel with the digital version of the document (persistent identifiers) and be visible on websites that host peer-reviewed articles (journals' websites, Pubmed, etc.). In the future development of MyCites, challenges such as the conditions of correct/incorrect-ness and parties that should adjudicate that, and, the issue of dealing with incorrect reports need to be addressed.
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