"Coercive Citation in Academic Publishing"
Science: 3 Feb. 2010 vol. 335, issue 6086

by Allen Wilhite and Eric A. Fong


Impact factors may be a poor measure of research quality, but they have become the most prominent method of ranking journals. Unfortunately their calculation tempts editors to coerce authors for self-citations. We find many journals have succumbed to this temptation and seem to practice coercion opportunistically. Editors prefer to target junior faculty members, manuscripts with few authors, and they react to the coercive behavior of other journals in their field. Even though scholars overwhelmingly disapprove of coercion, we find they are adjusting. Individuals who have been coerced view coercion less harshly, add more citations if asked, and even add superfluous citations before submission.

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