Referencing and quotation accuracy in four manual therapy journals

Man Ther. 2004 Feb;9(1):36-40. doi: 10.1016/s1356-689x(03)00056-0.


The aim of the study was to investigate the reference and quotation accuracy in four peer-reviewed manual therapy journals. A stratified random sample of original research (n=7) was collected from each of the journals spanning the years January 2000 to December 2001. A further random selection of 80 references from each journal paper sampled was then reviewed (Total N=320) for citation and quotation accuracy. Numbers of citations with errors were determined, then classified as either major or minor and categorized by bibliographic headings (author, title, journal, year, volume, page and irretrievable). Each quotation was individually assessed for accuracy and judged to be either correct or incorrect. A quotation was deemed correct if it accurately substantiated and reported the original authors assertions. One hundred and fifteen citations across all journals contained errors (35.9%). Some citations exhibited multiple major and minor errors. Bibliographically classified errors for all journals showed 61 author, 51 title, 6 journal, 4 year, 12 volume and 25 page errors. JMPT showed the lowest referencing error rate (20%) while JBWMT recorded the highest (58.8%). The total number of quotation errors across all journals was 69 (12.3%). JMPT showed the lowest quotation error rate of 6 (4.7%), MT had 12 errors (7.3%), JOM produced 21 errors (13.3%), while JBWMT recorded the highest error rate with 32 (27.6%). Poor citation and quotation is a reflection on the scholarly work of the authors and the journal. The trend for errors in quotation is more worrying than citation errors as it reflects poor diligence on the part of the investigators.

MeSH terms

  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Humans
  • Journalism, Medical / standards*
  • Musculoskeletal Manipulations*
  • Peer Review, Research*
  • Periodicals as Topic / standards*
  • Publishing / standards
  • Quality Control
  • Reproducibility of Results