Purpose: To determine the accuracy of bibliographic citations in three widely circulated nursing journals, RN, Nursing Management, and Image: Journal of Nursing Scholarship. Accurate citations facilitate retrieval of the cited documents and establish the judgment and credibility of authors.
Design: Descriptive, comparative.
Methods: A random sample of 60 references per journal published July 1995 to June 1996 was reviewed for citation and quotation accuracy. Errors were classified as major or minor. Data were analyzed using the SAS statistical package.
Findings: Of the 180 references, 58 (32%) had citation errors, with 43 of 58 errors classified as major errors, which made retrieval of the cited work difficult; 12 of the 180 articles contained a major quotation error, including four instances where the content of the original article contradicted or was unrelated to the author's contention.
Conclusions: The rate of citation and quotation errors in the three sampled nursing journals is comparable to rates previously reported for medical and nursing journals. Errors of citation and quotation diminish the value of published papers.