16 October 2015
Citations to scholarly items are building bricks for multidisciplinary science communication. Citation analyses are currently influencing individual career advancement and ranking of academic and research institutions worldwide. This article overviews the involvement of scientific authors, reviewers, editors, publishers, indexers, and learned associations in the citing and referencing to preserve the integrity of science communication. Authors are responsible for thorough bibliographic searches to select relevant references for their articles, comprehend main points, and cite them in an ethical way. Reviewers and editors may perform additional searches and recommend missing essential references. Publishers, in turn, are in a position to instruct their authors over the citations and references, provide tools for validation of references, and open access to bibliographies. Publicly available reference lists bear important information about the novelty and relatedness of the scholarly items with the published literature. Few editorial associations have dealt with the issue of citations and properly managed references. As a prime example, the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) issued in December 2014 an updated set of recommendations on the need for citing primary literature and avoiding unethical references, which are applicable to the global scientific community. With the exponential growth of literature and related references, it is critically important to define functions of all stakeholders of science communication in curbing the issue of irrational and unethical citations and thereby improve the quality and indexability of scholarly journals.