Objective: To determine the rate and type of errors in biomedical informatics journal article references.
Methods: References in articles from the first 2004 issues of five biomedical informatics journals, Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, Journal of Biomedical Informatics, International Journal of Medical Informatics, Methods of Information in Medicine, and Artificial Intelligence in Medicine were compared with MEDLINE for journal, authors, title, year, volume, and page number accuracy. If discrepancies were identified, the reference was compared with the original publication. Two reviewers independently evaluated each reference.
Results: The five journal issues contained 37 articles. Among the 656 eligible references, 225 (34.3%) included at least one error. Among the 225 references, 311 errors were identified. One or more errors were found in the bibliography of 31 (84%) of the 37 articles. The reference error rates by journal ranged from 22.1% to 40.7%. Most errors (39.0%) occurred in the author element, followed by the journal (31.2%), title (17.7%), page (7.4%), year (3.5%), and volume (1.3%) information.
Conclusion: The study identified a considerable error rate in the references of five biomedical informatics journals. Authors are responsible for the accuracy of references and should more carefully check them, possibly using informatics-based assistance.
Journal Article. 2472 words.
Subjects: Medical Statistics and Methodology ; Bioinformatics and Computational Biology ; Biomathematics and Statistics
Full text: subscription required