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BITC Publication Class 8: Literature Cited

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So let's talk about Literature Cited sections. Essentially this is where you document the previous publications that you have read and that you have based your work on. This is very critical as far as documenting where your work is coming from. Literature Cited sections are probably the most difficult detail to get right. Which is to say, a Literature Cited section almost always includes errors. To give you an example, there is a Literature Cited section challenge that I put on the Biodiversity Informatics Training Curriculum Facebook page, and you are welcome to try that and see how well you can do--nobody has yet found more than 80% of the errors, But essentially what I did was I took a page out of the journal Evolution, out of the Literature Cited section of Evolution, and I introduced 50 errors to it. Well, when I was introducing those errors, I noticed 2 or 3 errors that were in the Literature Cited section in the published version! So, again, errors are all the way through Literature Cited sections, so essentially what you have to do is to read and edit your Literature Cited section, to catch those errors and inconsistencies. Just to give you some examples: do you capitalize after a colon in the titles of journal articles? Some journals say yes. Some journals say no. What you need to do is (1) be consistent, and (2) follow the desires of the journal where you hope to publish your work. Do you put spaces between the initials in authors' names? Again, journals vary in their preferences. Be consistent. Do you include an issue number? You give the volume and you give the pages when you cite a journal article, but do you include the issue number? Be consistent I'm going to give you some examples; I hope you won't consider this tiresome or pedantic--I am just going to give you some examples. This is a Literature Cited section from a manuscript being produced at the University of Kansas Biodiversity Institute, and I just took it as an ideal example of an inconsistent Literature Cited section. You can see those inconsistencies pretty easily. I will point some out to you. [Examples:] "Downloaded from" ... "Downloadable from" OK? Be consistent. Here are the spaces between initials in lists of authors for two papers. How do we present journal names? Here it's italicized, here it isn't. Minor details, but do we put a comma after the journal name, or not? Look at the format for dealing with volumes ... here, we have no-bold, colon, no-space, page numbers; here we have bold, comma, space. Well, it's the same Literature Cited section, so we need to be consistent. Then we have simple errors, like here we have two different dashes separating our two page numbers in that citation. Do we abbreviate the journal name or not? Do we italicize or not? This is a very common one ... notice here, the journal article [= title] is essentially [in] sentence style for capitalization. First letter yes, and then subsequent words no. But here, we have all caps. That becomes quite common when people are downloading literature cited citations from journals, because some journals export those citations with all caps, and others do it in sentence style. You need to be consistent Here is the problem that I told you about earlier of do you capitalize after a colon or not? But again, what it really comes down to is consistency. Now, I recommended earlier to you that you use some reference manager. EndNote is a for-pay program; there are free options as well. But even using EndNote is not a panacea, because when you either type in a new reference, or when you download and automatically upload a reference into your database, if you are not checking for consistency at that step, then, EndNote will reproduce those inconsistencies and errors consistently through every manuscript that you develop! So, for example, if you're not capitalizing consistently or not capitalizing consistently after a colon, then references in your database will be mixed, and every single manuscript you ever write will have those inconsistencies. So, my rule, personally, is when I download something or add something to my EndNote database, I curate for consistency automatically.

Video Details

Duration: 5 minutes and 48 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Producer: A. Townsend Peterson
Director: A. Townsend Peterson
Views: 48
Posted by: townpeterson on Dec 30, 2012

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