RefCheck not parsing the reference list correctly is indicative of an incorrectly formatted reference in the Step 1 manuscript document. There are two actions that can be taken that will serve as check-points to ensure RefCheck parses the references correctly before proceeding to Step 2 of copyediting.
- If the references are manually formatted as a numbered list by the authors, change the reference list into an automated numbered list using MS Word's list tool by highlighting the list and clicking on the numbered-list function. When lists are manually created, there are often arbitrary line breaks in the middle of a reference and RefCheck recognizes line breaks as the start of new references. Creating the numbered list will make it easier to see arbitrary line breaks and remove them.
2. Once you run RefCheck in Step 1 copyediting, compare the number of references parsed to the number of references in the original list. With this simple check, you will automatically see if a reference was duplicated or skipped. For example, if a manuscript has 33 references but there are 34 in RefCheck, there might be an incidental reference that needs to deleted by ensuring the reference list is correctly formatted in the word document. If you see this problem during Step 1, simply fix the format of the list in the document, upload this new version to Step 1, and run it through RefCheck again before even completing Step 1.
References cannot be deleted from RefCheck (https://jmir.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/115001333507-How-do-I-delete-a-reference-from-RefCheck-). If you notice arbitrary or duplicated references in RefCheck in step 3 of copyediting, simply delete the reference in the manuscript document and renumber references throughout the manuscript so in-text citations correspond to the correct reference number from RefCheck.