Eugene Garfield's commentary on "Bibliographic Negligence: A Serious Transgression" (The Scientist, Nov. 25, 1991, page 14) points to concerns long recognized by health sciences librarians. Inaccurate citations abound in today's literature, judging by the number of inquiries from library users trying without success to identify and locate cited papers. The willingness of many authors to accept a search from one database as all that is necessary to review the literature of a topic is another frequent experience. Both are indications of lower standards of scholarship.
There was a time when authors read every paper cited, when editors scrutinized references and demanded complete and accurate citations. In earlier times, those researchers had to search the literature by hand and master the contents without the photocopier, the computer, or electronic databases. It is puzzling that many of today's researchers fail to take advantage of these resources.
These resources are easy to access,...
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