Nearly all editors, most authors, and many readers realize that there are going to be errors in at least some of the articles in most scientific journals. These can range from a typographical error in a cited reference to a complete misrepresentation of what was intended by the author or authors. It is believed that very few of these errors are deliberate misrepresentations, and these are not the subject of this page. Most errors can be attributed to carelessness, some to relying on memory rather than checking the source, some to the use of secondary sources, and a few to misreading or misunderstanding the original material or using it out of context.
The most common and the easiest of these to eliminate are the incomplete or erroneous reference citations; these have been reduced to a minimum with our current verification procedure. To the extent possible, all references in published journal articles are confirmed using the entries of the National Library of Medicine; references so checked are identified by the NLM unique identification (UI) numbers.