The dangers of citing papers you did not read or understand

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleCommunication

Marco van de Weert, Lorenzo Stella

References in scientific papers play an important role in acknowledging prior work of others on the topic under investigation. Moreover, they are used to show the research is built on solid ground, carefully prepared by others. However, proper citation requires that one has read and understood the paper that is cited. We discuss an example of one of our own papers erroneously being cited in support of the interpretation of an equation, while we in reality demonstrated this interpretation is incorrect. This is likely a result of the citing authors not having read or understood the paper. We place this in a broader perspective, pointing to similar examples in other fields of science. Such improper citation practices can lead to perpetuation of false information, which is then incorrectly linked to scientists who in reality do not support the claims being made. We urge the scientific community to ensure the papers we cite fully support the statement we make, as references otherwise become meaningless.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Molecular Structure: THEOCHEM
Volume1186
Pages (from-to)102-103
Number of pages2
ISSN0166-1280
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2019

    Research areas

  • Double log equation, Fluorescence spectroscopy, Ligand binding, Proper citation practices

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