New project to improve the accuracy and integrity of biomedical citations

A new project led by Associate Professor Halil Kilicoglu and Associate Professor Jodi Schneider from the School of Information Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign will help researchers and journals assess citation behavior in biomedical publications . They recently received a two-year, $300,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Research Integrity for their project “Natural Language Processing to Assess and Improve Citation Integrity in biomedical publications”.

Although citations play a fundamental role in the dissemination of scientific knowledge and the evaluation of research on a subject, they are often inaccurate (eg, citation of non-existent results, inappropriate interpretation). This inaccuracy undermines the integrity of scientific literature and distorts the perception of available scientific evidence.

“A recent meta-analysis showed that 25.4% of medical articles contained a citation error,” Kilicoglu said. “A bibliometric analysis revealed that inaccurate citations from a letter published in 1980 may have contributed to the opioid crisis.”

For their project, Kilicoglu and Schneider will develop and validate natural language processing/artificial intelligence resources and models to help stakeholders evaluate biomedical publications for citation accuracy and integrity. Stakeholders who will benefit from these new models and tools include authors, journals and peer reviewers, research administrators, funders and policy makers.

“In the long term, these new resources can mitigate the harmful effects of poor citation practices,” Kilicoglu said.

Kilicoglu’s research interests include biomedical informatics, natural language processing, knowledge representation, scholarly communication, and scientific reproducibility. Prior to joining iSchool, Kilicoglu worked as a research scientist at the US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health. He holds a doctorate in computer science from Concordia University.

Schneider studies the science of science through the prism of argument, evidence, and persuasion. His long-term research program analyzes controversies by applying science to public policy; how knowledge brokers influence citizens; and whether controversies are fueled by citizens’ disparate interpretations of scientific evidence and its quality. Schneider holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the National University of Ireland at Galway and an M.A. in Library and Information Science from the University of Illinois and in Mathematics from the University of Texas at Austin.

– This press release was originally published on the University of Illinois School of Information Studies website

Kevin A. Perras