Researchers from the University of Washington led by Jeannette Banobi looked into how seven original Science or Nature articles and their rebuttal articles were cited by subsequent papers. As they report in Ecosphere, Banobi and her team found that the original articles were cited 17 more times than the rebuttals, and when the rebuttal article was not included, 95 percent of citing researchers took the original article at face value. "Why is this happening?" asks Bonnie Swoger at her blog, the Undergraduate Science Librarian. She wonders whether researchers actually read the articles they cite or even find all the relevant literature. Banobi and her colleagues say that changes need to be made to "current publishing models to ensure that rebuttals are prominently linked to original articles." However, Swoger adds that "a lack of such system tools does not absolve the authors of their responsibility to find relevant earlier work."
The Rebuttal Role
Jul 18, 2011