A review on citation amnesia in depression and inflammation research.

: Once original scientific results are published the author has the "intellectual property" and may claim ownership. Discovery credit is one of the most important "rewards" for scientists and thus incorrect credits undermine the reward system of science. Scientists who publish should therefore give proper credit and acknowledge the primary sources. Failure to do so is regarded as "citation negligence", "the disregard syndrome", "citation amnesia", "plagiarism by omission", "bibliographic plagiarism" or "citation plagiarism", and may range from an unconscious or conscious "failure to credit a prior discoverer so as to give an improper impression of priority" to "the appropriation of another person's ideas or results without given proper credit". False discovery credit is considered to be "a menace to honest science", "a serious transgression" or "intellectual theft, be it intentional or not". This paper describes some examples of citation amnesia showing that scientists often fail to credit prior sources and give false discovery credit to other scientists. One example is the association between major depression and activated immuno-inflammatory pathways, a discovery by European groups and published in many papers since 1990. Now, 25 years later, it is commonplace that these theories are credited to secondary American sources whose work in "the last decade", did or did not examine these pathways in major depression. This gives an improper impression of priority of American-based scientists. Here it is proposed that this citation amnesia and plagiarism reinforced the wrong science and had negative effects on the development of immune-inflammatory biomarkers and new immune-related treatments for depression. It is concluded that journal editors should improve their citation standards to guarantee correct assignment of discovery credit for example by demanding a signed pledge from the authors that correct citations to the primary sources were made.

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