Common mistakes to avoid when checking product citations

As a supplier to the life science sector, it is essential for you to be able to demonstrate that you have high quality citations for your products. Citations are like the trip advisor reviews of the tourist industry, they’re what give your customers confidence in the quality of your products and in the service they can expect.

Here at CiteAb we collect and check huge numbers of citations for errors. The easiest way for us to check citations is when the publication mentions both the product code and the company name, however many don’t do this.

CiteAb Product Manager, Alicia Cooper, says: “The challenge is that many companies have duplicate product codes, so it is essential that you double check that your company is actually the cited source – you don’t want to be sharing misinformation or inadvertently promoting your competitors!

“Another challenge is where a publication doesn’t mention a product code. This makes checking citations difficult and can allow errors to occur.”

To help you ensure that you avoid common citation issues, today we’re outlining three areas to focus on:

1. The company

The issue here is similar to that of duplicated product codes – many companies supply the same clones and conjugates as each other. It is therefore important to make sure that your company is properly identified next to the product citation.

Researchers – we often see papers that list all the antibodies used, with the companies they’re from mentioned at the end. This makes it really difficult to see which antibody came from which supplier. It’s much clearer if you list all of the details for each antibody separately.

Example of an ambiguous antibody list:

2. The clone

We sometimes see researchers cite a monoclonal antibody using only the name, potentially the conjugate and the company name. This creates ambiguity – there could easily be well over 10 potential products which fit these criteria! At CiteAb we will only add monoclonal antibody citations to our database where either the product code or the clone are explicitly mentioned alongside the company name, or where a company only has one clone available.

Alicia adds: “This may result in fewer citations being collected, but it greatly reduces the risk of customers purchasing the wrong products.”

Example of an ambiguous citation:

3. Conjugates

Alicia says: “Our team often sees the wrong conjugates cited within papers. For example, citing a biotin conjugate when the publication doesn’t mention using one.

“For this reason we take the same approach as we do with clones, we’ll only include the citation for a conjugated antibody if that’s what has actually been used within the paper.”

Why not join the discussion about product citations with us on Twitter – use the hashtag #citingantibodies to tell us about your experiences of trying to understand ambiguous citations. And keep an eye out on our blog because we’ll discuss other citation problems in the near future, including those caused by citing application and reactivity.

– Rebecca and the CiteAb team

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