Any research paper that contained a reference list consisting only of the titles of the journals consulted and not their years of publication, volume and page numbers, and the names of the authors would surely be rejected out of hand by editor and referees alike. Right?

Not so. Increasing numbers of papers are being submitted with references in precisely this form, and they are being accepted without question. The authors of the papers, the editors of the journals and the referees all seem unaware that this is taking place. And the probable explanation for this is that the data being cited are contained not in the pages of learned journals, but in the files of certain scientific databanks. Authors are acknowledging the databanks, but not citing the workers who originally deposited the data. Unless this problem is resolved soon, those currently depositing the data may become reluctant to do so....

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