Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Citation cartels?


Well, that seems like a strong way of putting it until we look at the stakes:

Coercive citation has drawn increased attention in recent years. Last month two researchers at the Dutch publishing giant Elsevier published a study, titled “When Peer Reviewers Go Rogue,” that examined the citation patterns of nearly 55,000 reviewers for its journals. They found that 433 of those reviewers — less than 1 percent — consistently had their own work cited in papers they reviewed. …

Coercive citation is rare, the study suggests, but when it does occur, it’s egregious. Analysis of Elsevier’s reviewer network found one scholar who had requested in 120 separate reviews that the authors add “multiple irrelevant citations” to their papers. Only four of the authors refused to do so.

Faced with his own coercion dilemma, Fong, who’s now an associate professor, wound up adding the superfluous citations to his paper — and he did the same when a reviewer on another paper asked for more citations. He felt he couldn’t refuse. “I would not be here today if I didn’t succumb to the pressure of the editors. Without those publications, my record probably would not have been deemed tenurable,” Fong says. “I’m not saying that makes my decision right, but that’s the pressure that I was under.” … Paul Caron, “Meet the Researchers Fighting Back Against Rogue Peer Reviewers And ‘Citation Cartels’” at TaxProf Blog

Readers should decide for themselves whether, under these circumstances, coercive citation is likely to be rare.

See also: To understand how citation cartels come to exist, it’s helpful to recall Goodhart’s Law, as explained by Robert J. Marks: Why it’s so hard to reform peer review: Reformers are battling numerical laws that govern how incentives work. Know your enemy!


Leave a Reply