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From Excessive Journal Self-Cites to Citation Stacking: Analysis of Journal Self-Citation Kinetics in Search for Journals, Which Boost Their Scientometric Indicators

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PLoS ONE

Public Library of Science

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      Abstract

      Bibliometric indicators increasingly affect careers, funding, and reputation of individuals, their institutions and journals themselves. In contrast to author self-citations, little is known about kinetics of journal self-citations. Here we hypothesized that they may show a generalizable pattern within particular research fields or across multiple fields. We thus analyzed self-cites to 60 journals from three research fields (multidisciplinary sciences, parasitology, and information science). We also hypothesized that the kinetics of journal self-citations and citations received from other journals of the same publisher may differ from foreign citations. We analyzed the journals published the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Nature Publishing Group, and Editura Academiei Române. We found that although the kinetics of journal self-cites is generally faster compared to foreign cites, it shows some field-specific characteristics. Particularly in information science journals, the initial increase in a share of journal self-citations during post-publication year 0 was completely absent. Self-promoting journal self-citations of top-tier journals have rather indirect but negligible direct effects on bibliometric indicators, affecting just the immediacy index and marginally increasing the impact factor itself as long as the affected journals are well established in their fields. In contrast, other forms of journal self-citations and citation stacking may severely affect the impact factor, or other citation-based indices. We identified here a network consisting of three Romanian physics journals Proceedings of the Romanian Academy, Series A, Romanian Journal of Physics, and Romanian Reports in Physics, which displayed low to moderate ratio of journal self-citations, but which multiplied recently their impact factors, and were mutually responsible for 55.9%, 64.7% and 63.3% of citations within the impact factor calculation window to the three journals, respectively. They did not receive nearly any network self-cites prior impact factor calculation window, and their network self-cites decreased sharply after the impact factor calculation window. Journal self-citations and citation stacking requires increased attention and elimination from citation indices.

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      The history and meaning of the journal impact factor.

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          Self-citations in six anaesthesia journals and their significance in determining the impact factor.

          Self-citation of a journal may affect its impact factor. We investigated self-citations in the 1995 and 1996 issues of six anaesthesia journals by calculating the self-citing and self-cited rates for each journal. Self-citing rate relates a journal's self-citations to its total number of references. We defined self-cited rate as the ratio of a journal's self-citations to the number of times it is cited by the six anaesthesia journals. We also correlated self-citing rates with the impact factor of the six journals for 1997. Citations among the six journals differed significantly (P < 0.0001). Anesthesiology had the highest self-citing rate (57%). Anaesthesia, Anesthesia and Analgesia, British Journal of Anaesthesia, Canadian Journal of Anaesthesia and the European Journal of Anaesthesiology had self-citing rates of 28%, 28%, 30%, 11% and 4% respectively. The self-cited rates were 31%, 35%, 34%, 27%, 31% and 17% for Anaesthesia, Anesthesiology, Anesthesia and Analgesia, British Journal of Anaesthesia, Canadian Journal of Anaesthesia and the European Journal of Anaesthesiology, respectively. North America journals cited the North America literature. This also occurred, to a lesser extent, in the European anaesthesia journals. A significant correlation between self-citing rates and impact factors was found (r = 0.899, P = 0.015). A high self-citing rate of a journal may positively affect its impact factor.
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            Author and article information

            Affiliations
            Third Faculty of Medicine, Charles University in Prague, Praha, Czech Republic
            Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, SPAIN
            Author notes

            Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

            Conceived and designed the experiments: PH. Performed the experiments: PH. Analyzed the data: PH. Contributed reagents/materials/analysis tools: PH. Wrote the paper: PH.

            Contributors
            Role: Editor
            Journal
            PLoS One
            PLoS ONE
            plos
            plosone
            PLoS ONE
            Public Library of Science (San Francisco, CA USA )
            1932-6203
            18 April 2016
            2016
            : 11
            : 4
            27088862
            4835057
            10.1371/journal.pone.0153730
            PONE-D-16-08736
            (Editor)
            © 2016 Petr Heneberg

            This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

            Counts
            Figures: 6, Tables: 1, Pages: 20
            Product
            Funding
            Funded by: funder-id http://dx.doi.org/10.13039/100007397, Univerzita Karlova;
            Award ID: PRVOUK P31/2012
            The access to the databases used was supported by the project PRVOUK P31/2012 from Charles University in Prague. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
            Categories
            Research Article
            Biology and Life Sciences
            Immunology
            Medicine and Health Sciences
            Immunology
            Computer and Information Sciences
            People and Places
            Population Groupings
            Ethnicities
            Romanians
            Biology and Life Sciences
            Parasitology
            Research and Analysis Methods
            Research Assessment
            Bibliometrics
            Research and Analysis Methods
            Research Assessment
            Scientometrics
            Research and Analysis Methods
            Research Assessment
            Peer Review
            Medicine and Health Sciences
            Oncology
            Cancer Treatment
            Surgical Oncology
            Medicine and Health Sciences
            Clinical Medicine
            Clinical Oncology
            Surgical Oncology
            Medicine and Health Sciences
            Oncology
            Clinical Oncology
            Surgical Oncology
            Custom metadata
            All relevant data are within the paper and its Supporting Information files.

            Uncategorized

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