Tagged / Colin Pritchard

Pritchard & Harding paper cited in top journal, but there’s a ‘but…’

cloudAs an ECR I am delighted to see that a research paper that Prof. Pritchard and myself wrote in 2014 has been cited in one of the most well regarded journals in the field.

Our paper on the occupational backgrounds of Non-executive directors at NHS acute trusts, published in the Journal for the Royal Society of Medicine Open, was also the subject of an article in the now defunct Independent  newspaper and a post on this blog in May 2014.

Last year, in 2015, it was cited by a paper published in the Journal for Health Services Research and Policy. I won’t name which edition or paper because there is a ‘but…’, and it concerns the carelessness of the authors who cited our work.

There is a ‘but…’ because the authors got my name wrong – both in the in text citation and in the bibliography. The good news is that it still links on citation tracking systems (such as the function on Google Scholar) as a paper that I co-wrote. Yet as an ECR, who is trying to make his way in the ‘publish or perish’ world of academia, I can’t help but feel a bit frustrated. Here’s my name in a top journal, but it’s incorrect.

So I took action, I emailed the editors. To their credit I got a response within minutes, with an apology for the carelessness of the authors and that contact with the publisher had been initiated to see if it could be corrected. Yet, due to the inflexibility of doi, apparently this is unlikely.

This then got me thinking about my first publication. I have to admit I did not check the final galley proof thoroughly enough. Indeed, when it was published, it became apparent that I had not corrected some basic incorrect spelling of names in the bibliography. In other words, some very respected authors’ names were wrong! I can happily report that this was corrected, and no offence caused (I hope!).

But the lesson here – check final galley proofs. If you cite an article, I think the very least you can do, out of respect for colleagues, is to get the authors name right. I have made this mistake, and so have authors who have cited me, so it would scream hypocrisy if I was too mad! But it does show that it might be a relatively common problem, so again – check final galley proofs!

However, once the relative pain bypassed, one our papers has still been cited in a top journal – and that is very satisfying indeed.