Cited references or citations in research manuscripts play a major role in scientific progress by impacting the design, execution, assessment, and communications of scientific works. The role is well expressed by the following Nature editorial statements:

Citation of prior publications is essential to claim that knowledge is needed in your area of research and to establish that you have indeed advanced understanding substantially in that area.


Attention to accurate representation of claims within a research article together with the evidence and method supporting each claim can expedite peer review. Accurate citation of the claims is essential to avoid prematurely closing possibly productive research strategies.


Therefore, for reproducible and impactful research, it is critical to make accurate citations that maintain a high standard. The following list will help you to achieve this.

Guidelines for making accurate citations

  1. Only cite when it is logically/scientifically required but not for satisfying some other interests e.g., citing self unnecessarily to increase the citation of own works, showing off the magnitude of your literature review, pleasing collaborators, current or future mentors and friends.
  2. Cite peer-reviewed articles in journals from reliable publishers (i.e., non-predatory journal publishers) as much as possible.
  3. Don’t cite Wikipedia articles.
  4. Don’t cite common knowledge. See “When and what to cite and reference?” for more.
  5. If you cite non-peer-reviewed articles, thoroughly check the credibility of the sources.
  6. Cite the primary sources of the information rather than review papers that refer to the primary sources.
  7. Cite recent publications as much as possible. See “How recent is recent for good referencing?” for more.
  8. Don’t miss to cite critical and cornerstone papers related to the research topics.
  9. Don’t avoid citing research papers whose results or conclusion is opposite to your studies. Discuss them with your results and other works which may initiate new breakthroughs.
  10. Read the references thoroughly so that you know which quotes from them you are referring to substantiate your proposition.
  11. Don’t copy-paste or change a few words of the quotes from previously published articles and cite. Write your own logical deduction and cite as necessary to support the deduction.
  12. Don’t cite neutrally e.g., “this filed exists (refs. 1-20),”. The statements you are citing should contain clear propositions which require substantiation.
  13. Don’t cite any references in the claims that you are making based on your study results or outcomes.
  14. The propositions you are making should contain enough information so that they can be properly compared with the references. For example, without any summary of the method used, the statement “The methods from this reference[11] were used” contains no information that can be validated with reference [11].
  15. Don’t undervalue or misrepresents references (e.g., studies similar to yours) to hype your study outcomes.
  16. If there are multiple arguments in one statement to be substantiated by citations, add citations after the end of each argument rather than at the end of the whole statement.
  17. If the propositions of the statement can be substantiated with a few references, don’t use string citations e.g., [5, 7, 10-15].
  18. Use the citation style recommended by the journal publisher.
  19. Spell authors’ names correctly.
  20. Check the accuracy of all other citation information carefully e.g., titles, publication year, journal full name or its abbreviation.


Meticulous referencing according to the guidelines with nXr reference manager not only will improve scientific writing and peer review but also will increase your standing as a good researcher.

Because only nXr supports you to make accurate informative citations (see below) and share them with peer-reviewers. Know more at

In nXr, citations can be linked with:

  • cited quotes/images
  • quote/image page numbers in reference PDFs
  • citation intent
  • article URLs (auto)
  • article PDFs (auto, if it is in nXr.iLibrary)
  • citation quality declaration
  • dashboard summarizing and visualizing various data related to citations/references


  1. Cause, correlation, conjecture. Nat Genet 47, 305 (2015).
  2. Cause, correlation, conjecture. Nat Genet 47, 305 (2015).
  3. Santini, Ario. “The Importance of Referencing.” Journal of critical care medicine (Universitatea de Medicina si Farmacie din Targu-Mures) vol. 4,1 3-4. 9 Feb. 2018, doi:10.1515/jccm-2018-0002
  4. Smith Jr, Neal, and Aaron Cumberledge. “Quotation errors in general science journals.” Proceedings of the Royal Society A 476.2242 (2020): 20200538.
  5. Penders, Bart. “Ten simple rules for responsible referencing.” PLoS computational biology 14.4 (2018): e1006036.