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Opinion: Citation mutation, revisited

The discussion surrounding article references that acquire heritable mistakes continues

Christian Specht
__This letter responds to a recent linkurl:post;http://blogs.plos.org/mfenner/2010/09/20/letter-to-the-scientist/ on the __PLoS__-hosted __Gobbledygook__ blog in which blogger and cancer researcher linkurl:Martin Fenner;http://www.mendeley.com/profiles/martin-fenner/ references a linkurl:story;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/57689/ on citation mutations that appeared on linkurl:www.the-scientist.com;http://www.the-scientist.com/ last week (16th September):__Dear Martin Fenner,
I fully agree that this study is only an initial and somewhat anecdotal evaluation of citation mutants. My analysis has been limited to very few of the total number of citation variants of Laemmli's article. In fact, the exact number of variants could not be determined accurately using my approach. To obtain an estimate of the number of citation variants, I have searched the ISI database for the author's name, the journal and the year of publication (Laemmli, __Nature__, 1970). Any mutations located within these search terms have escaped detection. Such mutations can only be found by searching for a specific error. In this way I could, for instance, identify the variants Aemmli, __Science__...
Christian G. Specht is a neurobiologist working on learning & memory and currently based at the ENS in Paris.



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