Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Research ethics: Coercive citation in academic publishing

Date:
February 2, 2012
Source:
University of Alabama in Huntsville
Summary:
Scientists have examined the unethical practices of some journal publications, articulating results from their research to show that some editors coerce authors into adding unnecessary citations to articles in the same journal that is considering publishing the submitted work. Journal editors want to increase the number of times articles within their journals are cited by researchers -- because it raises the journal ranking and is used to make claims of prestige and importance.

Two faculty members from The University of Alabama in Huntsville’s College of Business Administration have been published in the journal Science for their investigation of an important issue in research ethics.

Dr. Allen W. Wilhite, and Dr. Eric A. Fong co-authored a paper on the unethical practices of some journal publications, articulating results from their research to show that some editors coerce authors into adding unnecessary citations to articles in the same journal that is considering publishing the submitted work. Journal editors want to increase the number of times articles within their journals are cited by researchers – because it raises the journal ranking and is used to make claims of prestige and importance.

"When we first learned about coercion we were stunned, but after asking around we found that several people were aware of this behavior." said Dr. Wilhite, "At that point we decided to look into the extent and consequences of the practice."

The duo analyzed 6,672 responses from a survey that was sent to researchers in the fields of economics, sociology, psychology, and business.

According to their research, Wilhite and Fong determined that many journal editors engage in the practice of coercion, requiring authors to add citations to the journal that is considering publishing the work.

They require additional citation of articles in the journal that will publish the work -- without (1) indicating that the article was actually deficient in attribution, (2) suggesting particular articles, authors, or bodies of work, or (3) guiding authors to add citations from the other journals.

Furthermore, the work of Wilhite and Fong indicates that many journal editors appear to even strategically target certain authors, such as assistant and associate professors, rather than full professors, relying on the fact that lower ranking authors may be more willing to add the unnecessary citations. They also found that while the majority of authors disapprove of the practice, most acquiesce and add citations when coerced.

"This type of behavior hurts all of academia," said Dr. Fong, " and affects the integrity of academic publications."

""We hope this research brings this unethical practice to light. If left unchecked, it could distort our understanding of journal quality and research impact and, over time, influence decisions about tenure, promotion, awards and funding. Importantly, it is adding to the pressures faced by vulnerable junior faculty who are trying to build a record for tenure," said Dr. Caron St. John, Dean of UAHuntsville's College of Business.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Alabama in Huntsville. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. A. W. Wilhite, E. A. Fong. Coercive Citation in Academic Publishing. Science, 2012; 335 (6068): 542 DOI: 10.1126/science.1212540

Cite This Page:

University of Alabama in Huntsville. "Research ethics: Coercive citation in academic publishing." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 February 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120202164817.htm>.
University of Alabama in Huntsville. (2012, February 2). Research ethics: Coercive citation in academic publishing. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120202164817.htm
University of Alabama in Huntsville. "Research ethics: Coercive citation in academic publishing." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120202164817.htm (accessed July 30, 2014).

Share This




More Science & Society News

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

AP (July 30, 2014) British officials said on Wednesday that driverless cars will be tested on roads in as many as three cities in a trial program set to begin in January. Officials said the tests will last up to three years. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
China's Drone King Says the Revolution Depends on Regulators

China's Drone King Says the Revolution Depends on Regulators

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Comparing his current crop of drones to early personal computers, DJI founder Frank Wang says the industry is poised for a growth surge - assuming regulators in more markets clear it for takeoff. Jon Gordon reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
London Mayor Outlines 50-Year Vision Ahead of Population Rise

London Mayor Outlines 50-Year Vision Ahead of Population Rise

AFP (July 30, 2014) London Mayor Boris Johnson outlined his infrastructure plan for the British capital over the next 50 years on Wednesday, with a focus on how to cope with a population expected to reach 11 million. Duration: 00:57 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins