I am currently reading the following Ethnic and Racial Studies article from 2018:

Marino (2018): Ethnic identity and race: the “double absence” and its legacy across generations among Australians of Southern Italian origin. Operationalizing institutional positionality., Ethnic and Racial Studies, DOI: 10.1080/01419870.2018.1451649

In it Marino states the following:

Southern Italians were treated differently from Northern Italians, and considered not-yet-white-ethnic. Such ambivalence was concomitant with the legacy left by the White Australia Policy that passed in 1901 and intentionally favoured immigrants from certain European countries, mainly northern Europeans. This was in order to build a “white Australia” (Nelson et al. 2013)

Wanting to understand the claim further I looked into the Nelson et al. 2013 reference. The only 'Nelson et al.' for the year 2013 in the references was the following (DOI 10.1177/0956797612447798):

Nelson, S. K., K. Kushlev, T. English, E. W. Dunn, and S. Lyubomirsky. 2013. “In Defence of Parenthood: Children Are Associated with More Joy than Misery.” Psychological Science 24 (1): 3–10.

However that article is from Psychological Science and doesn't even mention anything about Italians or Australia.

Did Marino accidently reference the wrong article or am I doing something wrong? If the former would I now have to contact Marino somehow to get a correction?

  • 15
    In the absence of finding an answer such as the one provided by CrimsonDark, contacting the author for clarification is indeed typically the way to go. You might still want to reach out and let them know about the issue.
    – Anyon
    Commented Dec 21, 2022 at 7:56

1 Answer 1


Someone has made a mistake; quite possibly a copy editor! The reference you want is (almost certainly):

Nelson, J., & Dunn, K. M. (2013). Racism and anti-racism. In A. Jakubowicz & C. Ho (Eds.), 'For Those Who’ve Come Across the Seas..' : Australian Multicultural Theory, Policy and Practice (pp. 259-276).

Just so that it doesn't appear magical, I located this by doing the following:

  • Noting that Marino refers to a specific page of the Nelson article , namely p. 260.
  • Noting that the reference in the bibliography not only seemed weird, it also did not include an appropriate page number.
  • Using Google Scholar with the search terms "author:nelson white australia" (without the quotes)

The first result on the search list was the one I have repeated. It includes the appropriate page number, and when you visit the page that includes an abstract of the Nelson et al. article, you'll see that it all makes sense.

There is one glitch that remains. The in-text citation of the Nelson article is to "Nelson et al.", implying more than two authors, whereas the article I mention has only two authors. I suspect that this is entirely attributable to an error-prone editorial process and a failure on the part of the author to check everything before publication.

  • 27
    Perhaps the author put Nelson2013 into their citation manager and picked up the wrong one. An easy mistake to make. Commented Dec 21, 2022 at 11:58
  • It's even Nelson and Dunn twice
    – DonQuiKong
    Commented Dec 22, 2022 at 17:16
  • 1
    "The in-text citation of the Nelson article is to "Nelson et al.", implying more than two authors" - I suspect the in-text citation was automatically generated; if the article is written in some software such as Microsoft Word, you can insert citations from a menu. Having the wrong article in a bibliography file would explain both errors.
    – kaya3
    Commented Dec 23, 2022 at 3:27

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .