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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 67-68

Citation impact: Manipulation and monopoly

Laboratory of Vascular, Physiology and Medicine, Department of Physiology, BLDE University's, Shri B.M. Patil Medical College, Hospital, Research Centre, Vijayapur, Karnataka, India

Date of Web Publication15-Dec-2017

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Kusal K Das
Laboratory of Vascular, Physiology and Medicine, Department of Physiology, BLDE University's, Shri B.M. Patil Medical College, Hospital, Research Centre, Vijayapur, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/bjhs.bjhs_34_17

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How to cite this article:
Das KK. Citation impact: Manipulation and monopoly. BLDE Univ J Health Sci 2017;2:67-8

How to cite this URL:
Das KK. Citation impact: Manipulation and monopoly. BLDE Univ J Health Sci [serial online] 2017 [cited 2018 Mar 23];2:67-8. Available from: http://www.bldeujournalhs.in/text.asp?2017/2/2/67/220946

Citations symbolize the conceptual association of scientific ideas as recognized by publishing research authors. By the references they cite in their papers, authors make explicit linkages between their current research and prior work in the archive of scientific literature. Various factors influence citation such as quality of works, relevance, reputation, productivity, and scientific impact. Each citation indicates an influence of the original presentation on another and hence the accumulated number of citations to a particular presentation provides a measure of its total influence. Many citation appraisal institutions such as Thomson Reuters, Scopus, Google Scholar, and Research Gate are functioning in the world of scientometric database but the most acceptable one is Thomson Reuters. It has around 12,000 journals in the complete list but only 8800 journals are currently being considered for evaluation of impact factor. Article, Authors, Journals, and Institution are directly come under citation impact. From reputation of an academic institution or research performance of an individual to research grant providers seriously care for citations because many policies related grant awarding are directly linked to citations. Citation is considered now as the key metric for scientific and academic progress of researcher and instruction or university or the country itself and every researcher is now trying to find out the way to improve his/her citation metric [Figure 1].
Figure 1: Significance of citations

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This trend to improve citation is actually opening many avenues to manipulate the concept of citations. Although citation is an important part of researcher's career currently several citations malpractices are noted, and surprisingly, it is also found that some journals actually indulged in it or suggest its authors to do so. The self-citation is one common form of citation manipulations. Both author and journals are equally involved in it. These self-citations actually in many cases do not enrich the scholarly content of the article, and its sole purpose is to just increase citations of the author and journal.[1] The Council of Science Editors intensely criticizes this practice and declared it as a scientific misconduct. Thomson Reuters has come forward to control the menace of unnecessary self-citations by suspending many journals from their Journal Citation Records list. To check unwarranted self-citations Thomson Reuters introduced Eigen Factor TM Score like impact factor which eliminates self-citations entirely. Publishers and editors who encourage their authors and reviewers to indulge such malpractices are actually putting both authors and peer reviewers under the risk of scientific misconduct.

Another way, citations are manipulated by “elite top publishers” who have monopolized the publishing business basically through USA- and UK-based journals and its contributors. They discourage the inclusion of citations of research papers published by “lower tier publishers' from third world countries in their publications and restrict citations from only top journals, authors or Universities of fame. Unfortunately, many researchers and peer reviewers of non USA and UK are also fallen into this trap and further damaging the citation metric of researchers from the third world! This is one of the worst ways of manipulation of citations which benefits elite authors of elite Universities of West.[2]

Hence, every researcher, especially from Afro-Asian geographically located researchers must keep themselves alert on this issue and try to improve their citations in several honest ways. Among various tools, it has been found that more number of collaborative or multidisciplinary works brings more citations. Supporting early career staff or taking initiative to mentor young researchers, selecting good journals, accepting many offers from publishing houses like editing books or become guest editor of any issue in reputed journals and developing good networking skills are a few options for improving citation metric not only for his or her own but also for their own institutions. The option of ResearchGate, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter may not be ruled out to improve citations.

Further, it is noticed that publication in clinical journals brings higher citations for a short period but basic science research works able to sustain citation flow for a longer period although the magnitude of citations may be lower than clinical works. Hence, it may be suggested that to improve citations one has to keep on sending the article to top journals in spite of the fear of rejections. Although there are many ways of manipulation to improve citations publication ethics should be the top priority for a researcher at any time because it is the honesty and integrity of researcher that speaks a volume in the way of the scientific journey as a researcher![3]

  References Top

Todd PA, Ladle RJ. Hidden dangers of 'citation culture'. Ethics Sci Environ Polit 2008;8:13-6.  Back to cited text no. 1
Bartneck C, Kokkelmans S. Detecting h-index manipulation through self-citation analysis. Scientometrics 2011;87:85-98.  Back to cited text no. 2
Das KK. Journey of a researcher: From citation to h-index. Int J Clin Exp Physiol 2015;2:1.  Back to cited text no. 3
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