I'm not quite sure where to go with this issue as it's something I've never encountered. A few years ago, I published a research article, which I thought was going to generate some buzz! With this diluted thought in mind, I decided to Google it to see if anyone had been talking about this research. I encountered a book which mentioned the results from my article. However, instead of a being in the author's own words, there are direct quotations from the paper. The only information not in quotations was how the author found the article, and my affiliation information. I was shocked that pretty much all information about my article was a reproduction of all the hard work I put into it. I estimate about 70% of the information on my article were in quotations. I looked through the book and the other articles mentioned in the book were described in the same style. I looked more into the editor of the book, and found out that all the books he published also had the same style. Is there anything that can be done about this?
Date: 04 Feb 2014 13:04
Number of posts: 6
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I sympathized with your experience and know it exist. There are things that you could do but you have to ask yourself if it worth it. Many of such books are academically shady. Is the author of book/chapter a known academic? Is the editor and the publisher reputable? How likely are other researchers to use this book as a source and not your article? The impact of the book might be very minimal as most people won't bother using it so you have to ask yourself if it worth the time and effort.
similar question: is there any sort of protocol when you see yourself mis-cited? Let's say, as a hypothetical, you study why sunshine makes people happy and you find someone has cited your article for evidence of the effect of water temperature on happiness in one paragraph, and cites you again about the effect of number of people in your neighborhood on happiness. Neither is really what your article is about. Is it worth doing something? In this case it wasn't a well known journal or anything, but an applied recommendations for educators type of article.
Researchers mis-cite my articles all the time and I have seen it with many other articles as well. I don't see a point of correcting them unless it is a direct attack on your research or is profoundly misleading in a major way (a new theory solely based on wrong interpretation of your study, quoted on high impact publication). Everyone could read your original paper if this is important to them so I wouldn't worry too much.
Whether or not you correct someone depends in part on your motivation for the correction. If you are only concerned about others in your field getting the wrong impression about your work, then probably not, since you stated the mis-citation is in a lesser known applied journal. However, if you are actually concerned about erroneous conclusions, and educators using this poorly researched article in their classrooms, then you might consider making some effort to get the article corrected (or even retracted, depending on how much other information was misrepresented in the article).
I agree that, for your personal purposes, it probably does not matter. But for the "greater good," you could make an effort. I'm not sure what I would do, to be honest… It seems like the chances of actually correcting the article that cites yours is low, but if everyone ignores these sorts of things then the basic-to-applied research process gets kind of jacked up, no?