Friday, April 9, 2010

Journals misbehaving

I received this in my email yesterday:
Journal Citation Survey Invitation

Recently a friend had an article accepted for publication. Two weeks later he received a letter from the editor which included the following statement, "you only use one [name of my journal] source which is unacceptable. Please add at least five more relevant-[name of my journal] sources."

Another colleague had a similar experience at the submission stage; the editor asked her for three more citations to his journal before he would send her manuscript out for review. Note, these citation requests were not motivated by omitted content; they simply asked authors to cite related articles in the editor’s journal.

This practice is controversial. Some view it as inappropriate behavior, padding citations and diluting the value of the reference list. Others see it as a legitimate way to introduce readers to past literature in the editor’s journal. This study investigates this issue and we need your help.

The following link takes you to a survey prepared in SurveyMonkey©. Would you please take a couple of minutes to complete it—it will not take long. Of course we will keep your responses confidential.

Thank you.

This is the first I had heard of journals trying to pad their citation counts by strong-arming authors. This is really, really poor. If this practice becomes widespread, journal quality rankings will, of course, simply stop counting citations from papers in the journal, as well tenure committees and the like.

Addendum: a reader asked about missing journal names. They were missing in the email I received; I did not take them out.

1 comment:

Russell Bittmann said...

Could journals have a small box at the end of the article that says if you liked "this [journal name] article" you may like "these [journal name] articles"?

Would authors take offense to this? Saying "I would have cited it if I thought it was related." Would journal editors think this looks cheap?

Seems better than blackmailing/getting blackmailed.