Journals Inflate Their Prestige by Coercing Authors to Cite Them

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A survey published today in Science shows that journal editors often ask prospective authors to add superfluous citations of the journal to articles, and authors feel they can’t refuse. (The Science paper is for subscribers only, but you can read a summary here.) The extra citations artificially inflate a journal’s impact and prestige. About 6,600 academics responded to the survey, and about 20 percent said they had been asked to add such citations even though no editor or reviewer had said their article was deficient without them. About 60 percent of those surveyed said they would comply with such a request, which was most often aimed at junior faculty members.

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