Study objective: To assess the prevalence of misrepresented citations among emergency medicine residency applicants and to determine whether misrepresentation increases as the number of citations increases.
Methods: We examined 350 consecutive emergency medicine residency applications and then reviewed all cited publications to determine whether they were genuine or misrepresented. Applicants with citations were divided into three groups: those who listed one citation, those with two to four citations, and those with five or more citations. The numbers of individuals and misrepresentations were then tabulated and compared among the groups.
Results: Publications were cited on 113 applications (32.3%). Twenty-three applicants (20.4% of those who cited publications and 6.6% of all applicants) misrepresented citations. Misrepresentations were found in 8 of 56 applications listing single citations (14.3%), 8 of 46 applications (17.4%) claiming two to four citations, and 7 of 11 (63.6%) applications claiming five or more citations (P=.00081, Pearson chi 2 test).
Conclusion: Emergency medicine residency applications may contain misrepresented citations. The number of misrepresentations in this study increased as the number of citations increased.