The top-ten in journal impact factor manipulation
A considerable part of the scientific community is, at least to some degree, involved in the “impact factor game” Editors strive to increase their journals — impact factor (IF) in order to gain influence in the fields of basic and applied research and scientists seek to profit from the “added value” of publishing in top IF journals. In this article we point out the most common “tricks” of engineering and manipulating the IF undertaken by a portion of professionals of the scientific publishing industry. They attempt to increase the nominator or decrease the denominator of the IF equation by taking advantage of certain design flaws and disadvantages of the IF that permit a degree of artificial and arbitrary inflation. Some of these practices, if not scientifically unethical, are at least questionable and should be abandoned. Editors and publishers should strive for quality through fair and thoughtful selection of papers forwarded for peer review and editorial comments that enhance the quality and scientific accuracy of a manuscript.