BACKGROUND: The reference list is an important part of academic manuscripts. The goal of this study is to evaluate the reference accuracy in the field of neurosurgery.
METHODS: This study examines four major peer-reviewed neurosurgery journals, chosen based on their clinical impact factor: Neurosurgery, J Neurosurg, World Neurosurg, and Acta Neurochir. For each of the four journals, five articles from each of the journal's 12 issues published in 2019 were randomly selected using an online generator. This resulted in a total of 240 articles, 60 from each journal. Additionally, from each article's list of references, one reference was again randomly selected and checked for a citation or quotation error. The chi-square test was used to analyze the association between the occurrence of citation and quotation errors and the presence of hypothesized risk factors that could impact reference accuracy.
RESULTS: 62.1% of articles had a minor citation error, 8.33% had a major citation error, 12.1% had a minor quotation error, and 5.8% of articles had a major quotation error. Overall, Acta Neurochir presented with the fewest quotation errors compared with the other journals evaluated. The only association between the frequency of errors and potential markers of reference mistakes was with the length of the bibliography. Surprisingly, this correlation indicated that the articles with longer reference lists had fewer citation errors (p < 0.01). Statistical significance was found between the occurrence of citation errors and the journals of publication (p < 0.01).
CONCLUSIONS: In order to advance medical treatment and patient care in neurosurgery, detailed documentation and attention to detail are necessary. The results from this analysis illustrate that improved reference accuracy is required.
Recommended CitationMontenegro, Thiago S; Hines, Kevin; Gonzalez, Glenn A; Fatema, Umma; Partyka, Paul P; Thalheimer, Sara; and Harrop, James, "How accurate is the neurosurgery literature? A review of references." (2020). Department of Neurosurgery Faculty Papers. Paper 139.
Available for download on Wednesday, September 01, 2021