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How to Cite Blogs in Formal Academic Medical Papers

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Unexpectedly, the National Library of Medicine / National Institutes of Health, in the second edition of their Style Guide for Authors, Editors, and Publishers, included a section on citing blogs and other material on the internet. Also unexpectedly, as one of the examples, they included Kidney Notes, a personal blog which I've written for over 2 years.
KidneyNotes.com [blog on the Internet]. New York: KidneyNotes. c2006 - [cited 2007 May 16]. Available from: http://www.kidneynotes.com/.
Cory Doctorow posted a link to the style guide on BoingBoing, the most popular blog on the Internet, and it generated some interesting (and heated) discussion. I've also discussed issues related to citing blogs with some friends who are more scientific than I. Some of the arguments are summarized below:
  • Blogs (and wikis) are not credible sources of information and should not be cited in medical papers.
  • "Blog on the Internet" is a redundant phrase. Where else would a blog be?
  • There is useful information to be found in blogs, it should be cited and is going to be cited, and therefore there should be a style guide for citing it.
  • Citing blogs on your CV is just another way to pad it if you don't have more substantive publications.
  • The "permalink" should be cited, not the blog itself.
  • People have been citing "personal communication" for years. Why not blogs (or emails), which are forms of personal communication?
For more discussion on this topic, see these links:
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About the Author


MD, FACP, FASN

Dr. Schwimmer's blog explores the intersection of medicine, new technologies, and the Internet.

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