PURPOSE: This study was to investigate the reference accuracy in major nursing journals in Korea. METHODS: The references in articles from eight nursing journals from 2006 were compared with PubMed for authors, year, title, journal, volume, and page accuracy. Four hundred sixty-six references were reviewed. Errors were classified as major or minor and categorized by bibliographic headings (author, title, journal, year, volume and page). RESULTS: Of the 466 references, 223(47.9%) had citation errors. The reference error rates ranged from 28.6% to 58.7%. Most errors occurred in the author element (37.9%), followed by title (20.9%), journal (19.0%), page (13.9%), volume (5.9%), and year (2.4%). CONCLUSION: This study identified a considerable error rate in the references of nursing journals. Inaccuracy of references is a reflection on scholarly work of authors and journals. Authors and Editorial committees are responsible for the accuracy of references.