of others’ ideas. This allows readers to locate the original source the author has used to justify a conclusion, and to find more detailed information about how earlier work was done and how the current work differs. Researchers also are expected to treat the information in a manuscript submitted to a journal to be considered for publication or a grant proposal submitted to an agency for funding as confidential.
Proper citation, too, is essential to the value of a reference. When analyzed carefully, many citation lists in published papers contain numerous errors. Beyond incorrect spellings, titles, years, and page numbers, citations may not be relevant to the current work or may not support the points made in the paper. Authors may try to inflate the importance of a new paper by including a reference to previously published work but failing to clearly discuss the connection between their new results and those reported in the previous study. Practices such as responsible peer review are thus important tools to prevent these problems.
Citations are important in interpreting the novelty and significance of a paper, and they must be prepared carefully. Researchers have a responsibility to search the literature thoroughly and to cite prior work accurately. Implied in this responsibility is that authors should strive to cite (and read) the original paper rather than (or in addition to) a more recent paper or review article that relies on the earlier article.
Researchers have other ways to disseminate research findings in addition to peer-reviewed research articles. Some of these, such as seminars, conference talks, abstracts, and posters represent longstanding traditions within science. Generally, these communications are seen as preliminary in nature, giving an author the chance to get feedback on work in progress before full publication in a peer-reviewed journal.
New communication technologies provide researchers with additional ways to distribute research results quickly and broadly. For example, raw data, computational models, the outputs of instruments,