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COLL X250 Academic Editing and Publishing

Resources for editors and peer reviewers

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

What are your thoughts on the Elsevier article? (Elsevier investigates hundreds of peer reviewers for manipulating citations)

Who commits ethical violations in the publication process?

Why might they do this?

"An online poll question answered by more than 4,300 Nature readers suggests that many researchers have felt pressured to cite studies in their work that seem unnecessary. Readers were asked, ‘Have you ever felt pressured by peer reviewers to cite seemingly superfluous studies in your work?’..... The poll accompanied a news story revealing that the Dutch publisher Elsevier had found that a small proportion of academics reviewing papers for its journals were asking study authors to reference the reviewers’ own papers in exchange for a positive report. This practice is broadly labelled coercive citation, and involves journal editors or peer reviewers pressuring authors to cite particular studies to boost their own citation count or their journal’s impact factor. The proportion of researchers saying they have experienced such pressure is higher in this poll than in other, similar surveys. This could be due to limitations such as selection bias, because people who have been affected are more likely to respond. It is also impossible to know how many of the studies that researchers felt pressured to cite are genuinely superfluous."

Chawla, Dalmeet Singh. “Two-Thirds of Researchers Report 'Pressure to Cite' in Nature Poll.” Nature News. Nature Publishing Group, October 1, 2019. https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-02922-9.

RESOURCES