This study has investigated the errors of reference and quotation in journal articles of Library and Information Science in Taiwan. A total of 6,108 references cited in 153 journal articles, 622 quotations cited in 111 Chinese journal articles, from four Library and Information Science journals, published 2011 to 2013, were obtained for citation analysis.
The analyses focused on reference and quotation errors: reference errors are listed according to the respective year of publication, journals, TSSCI listing or not, number of authors, reference length, and the items in the references; quotation errors are listed according to the respective year of publication, journals, or TSSCI listing or not, and the types of quotation errors. The study analyzed quotation errors of the introduction, literature review, method, result, and discussion in journal articles, and accuracy of direct quotation and paraphrase.
The results of the study reveal that:
(1) The average reference error rate within journal articles was 25.59%. The journal with the highest error rate of references was 29.83%. The reference error rate of the journals listed in TSSCI is lower than those not listed. There was a significant difference of reference error rate for different journals, TSSCI listing or not, and reference length. The items with the highest error rates were author in journals, publication location in books, publication year in theses and dissertations, page number in newspapers and magazines, publication location in conference papers. The reference error rates for each individual journal articles ranged from 5.88% to 56.52%.
(2) The average of the quotation error rate within journal articles was 13.67%. The journal with the highest error rate for quotations was 16.36%. The quotation error rate of journals listed in TSSCI is lower than those not listed. The highest error rate for quotations was in the “literature review” of the journal articles. The types with the highest quotation error rate were the referenced article failed to substantiate, was unrelated to, or contradicted the author’s assertions, and the secondary references did not credit the original author. The quotation error rates for each individual journal article ranged from 0.06% to completely wrong. The category with the highest occurrence for both reference errors and in-text citation errors was the year of publication. The journal with the highest occurrence of correct paraphrasing was 96.65%.
The suggestions for improvement based on the findings of this study are as follows: (1) The journal website should provide in the instructions for reference format clear explanation about the items that tend to have higher rates of errors in references and quotations.
(2) Authors should attach importance to accuracy of references and quotations.