Background: Previous studies have shown that applicants for postgraduate training may misrepresent research citations. We evaluated the research citations that were identified in a review of the Publications and Work and Research sections from the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS) data for all applicants to our orthopaedic residency program for the 1998 to 1999 academic year.Methods: The citations were searched for on Medline. We initially used the name of the first author, then the name of the applicant, the name of the journal, the volume number, the issue number, and the page numbers. When a journal was not listed in Medline, an interlibrary search was instituted with use of the same format. When no match was made for any category, the citation was defined as misrepresented. Point estimates are reported as percentages.Results: Publications were listed on sixty-four (30.0 percent) of 213 applications. One hundred and thirty-eight publications were cited; there were fifteen citations (10.9 percent) to book chapters, twenty-six (18.8 percent) to journals not listed in Ulrich's International Periodicals Directory, and twenty-one (15.2 percent) to articles listed as in press, in print, or submitted for publication. Seventy-six articles that had been cited as appearing in journals listed in Ulrich's Directory were checked and verified. Fourteen (18 percent) of these seventy-six publications were misrepresented. Misrepresentations included citations of nonexistent articles in actual journals and nonauthorship of existing articles.Conclusions: We concluded that publications listed on postgraduate applications should be scrutinized carefully. Copies of cited publications should be required by residency programs before applications are considered complete. The importance of professionalism needs to be emphasized in the curricula of medical schools. Residency training programs should develop guidelines regarding misrepresentation.