Failure to Check References

Arch Intern Med. 1990;150(11):2418-2420. doi:10.1001/archinte.1990.00390220144041.
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To the Editor.—The recent clash1,2 over a publication on fibromyalgia3 that has taken place in the Editor's Correspondence section of the Archives underlines the critical responsibilities of authors. Disagreement has brought claims of "misstatement, inaccurate citation, careless reading, and careless writing."2 This is not a singular occurrence in the medical literature. How often do we read a statement only to find that on exploring the reference facts were misquoted, conclusions were misrepresented, or the reference is highly questionable?4

The correspondence section is a unique vehicle for the rapid dissemination of new data and observations. Opinions that may shape the course of future research and practice are given a forum. Though they are brief, the nature of letters does in no way excuse authors from strict adherence to the instructions in bold type, "The author is responsible for the accuracy and completeness of the references and


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