Bibliographic Negligence: A Serious Transgression

For a long time, scientists and others have expressed the need for a "science court"--a panel that would, among other things, sit in judgment concerning matters of fraud, misconduct, and other transgressions by researchers. If such a court is ever established, I hope that cases of bibliographic negligence are among the issues that come under consideration--and I hope that proven cases of such negligence will be dealt with firmly. As important as the need for meting out punishment to willful p

Eugene Garfield
Nov 24, 1991

For a long time, scientists and others have expressed the need for a "science court"--a panel that would, among other things, sit in judgment concerning matters of fraud, misconduct, and other transgressions by researchers. If such a court is ever established, I hope that cases of bibliographic negligence are among the issues that come under consideration--and I hope that proven cases of such negligence will be dealt with firmly.

As important as the need for meting out punishment to willful perpetrators in this regard, however, is the need to instruct young researchers, preventively, on the ethics and etiquette involved in proper and complete referencing. Acknowledging prior research and intellectual debts is of crucial ethical importance.

A number of senior scientists I know tell me that the current crop of young researchers is neither fully nor diligently citing the literature. If true, this is shockingly ironic, in light of the ever-increasing...