Journal self-citation rates in ecological sciences
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Impact factors are a widely accepted means for the assessment of journal quality. However, journal editors have possibilities to influence the impact factor of their journals, for example, by requesting authors to cite additional papers published recently in that journal thus increasing the self-citation rate. I calculated self-citation rates of journals ranked in the Journal Citation Reports of ISI in the subject category “Ecology” (n = 107). On average, self citation was responsible for 16.2 ± 1.3% (mean ± SE) of the impact factor in 2004. The self-citation rates decrease with increasing journal impact, but even high impact journals show large variation. Six journals suspected to request for additional citations showed high self-citation rates, which increased over the last seven years. To avoid further deliberate increases in self-citation rates, I suggest to take journal-specific self-citation rates into account for journal rankings.
KeywordsImpact Factor Citation Rate Journal Citation Report Journal Impact Factor Immediacy Index
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