Affirmative citation bias in scientific myth debunking: A three-in-one case study

Autoři: Kåre Letrud aff001;  Sigbjørn Hernes aff002
Působiště autorů: Inland School of Business and Social Sciences, Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences, Lillehammer, Norway aff001;  Lillehammer Campus Library, Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences, Lillehammer, Norway aff002
Vyšlo v časopise: PLoS ONE 14(9)
Kategorie: Research Article
doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0222213


Several uncorroborated, false, or misinterpreted conceptions have for years been widely distributed in academic publications, thus becoming scientific myths. How can such misconceptions persist and proliferate within the inimical environment of academic criticism? Examining 613 articles we demonstrate that the reception of three myth-exposing publications is skewed by an ‘affirmative citation bias’: The vast majority of articles citing the critical article will affirm the idea criticized. 468 affirmed the myth, 105 were neutral, while 40 took a negative stance. Once misconceptions proliferate wide and long enough, criticizing them not only becomes increasingly difficult, efforts may even contribute to the continued spreading of the myths.

Klíčová slova:

Research and analysis methods – Research assessment – Citation analysis – Peer review – Database and informatics methods – Database searching – Biology and life sciences – Neuroscience – Cognitive science – Cognitive psychology – Learning – Learning and memory – Psychology – Addiction – Behavioral addiction – Social sciences – Sociology – Communications – Mass media – Encyclopedias – Medicine and health sciences – Pharmacology – Drugs – Analgesics – Opioids – Pain management


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