Online Academic Abuses and the Power of Openness: Naming & Shaming

Stevan Harnad harnad at ECS.SOTON.AC.UK
Tue Apr 10 07:26:02 EDT 2012

Self-citation in order to enhance a journal's impact factor 
is certainly an abuse, well worth controlling and exposing.

Self-citation to enhance an individual's citation count is futile. 
Personal citation statistics, used in performance evaluation, 
can easily be processed to cull out self-citations.

And at the individual level, self-citation can be entirely 
legitimate -- drawing attention to the author's work that is 
relevant to (and may have been ignored by) the target 
research field.

If there are citation circles doing mutual back-scratching 
among co-authors, that too is becoming increasingly detectable 
and name-and-shameable, especially in the Open Access era.

(The online digital online medium and the power of computation 
do make many forms of abuse possible, but open access also 
provides equally powerful means to expose and punish them: 
hence, once exposed as exposable, they are likely to become 
their own deterrents.)

Stevan Harnad

On 2012-04-10, at 6:41 AM, Philip Davis wrote:

> Emergence of a Citation Cartel
> 10 April, 2012
> The Scholarly Kitchen
> "In a 1999 essay published in Science titled, “Scientific Communication — A Vanity Fair?” George Franck warned us on the possibility of citation cartels — groups of editors and journals working together for mutual benefit. To date, this behavior has not been widely documented; however, when you first view it, it is astonishing."

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