Electronic reference use and publication ethics in scientific articles in the area of health sciences Saǧlık bilimleri alanındaki bilimsel makalelerde elektronik kaynak kullanımı ve yayın etiǧi

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Atıcı E., Ercan İ., Cangür Ş., Büyükuysal Ç.

Turkiye Klinikleri Journal of Medical Sciences, vol.33, no.2, pp.448-454, 2013 (Scopus) identifier


Objective: To assess the frequency of electronic reference use and the status of inability to reach them in health sciences, and to discuss the obtained results in terms of publishing ethics. Material and Methods: Articles were selected by random sampling method in the PubMed database published between the years 2000-2010, and 1188 articles were screened for e-reference use. Deficient and incorrect written e-references were excluded from the analysis. Full and accurate written e-references' accessibilities were checked using the reported access addresses. Inaccessible web pages and reasons for inability to reach the e-references were detected. Results: A significant increase is observed in the tendency of e-reference use (utilization rate 10.4%). There was no access to the 44.7% of articles which used e-references. While 41% of e-references used in articles published in SCI/SCI-EXP index were the inaccessible, this rate was 71.4% in the other indexes. One thirds of inaccessible web sites (33.8%) of the e-references belonged to associations and social institutions, 26.5% belonged to governmental institutions and 17.6% belonged to educational institutions. The top causes of inaccessibility of e-references were "the page cannot be found" (45.6%) and "the request is not supported" (35.3%). Conclusion: When using web sites as references citing the the site and, obeying reference writing standards should not be considered as ethically adequate. Ensuring accessibility, accuracy, reliability within the scientific evaluation criteria is impossible due to technical problems in the use of internet and problems arising from web site. When e-references are unavailable, the questions arise as who owns the scientific and ethical responsibility and what is the solution. The solutions may be presence of printed or CD-ROM versions of e-reference, providing availability of the information in the governmental/scientific institution's web site and conserving old data in case of updating information, transferring the official data and research results to the particular center and using DOI number system for eliminating accessing problems. Editorial boards can offer referral of e-references only when they are in accordance with the standards of scientific publications. © 2013 by Türkiye Klinikleri.