The following research article (preprint) was posted today on bioRxiv.
December 23, 2019
Citation metrics have value because they aim to make scientific assessment a level playing field, but urgent transparency-based adjustments are necessary to ensure that measurements yield the most accurate picture of impact and excellence. One problematic area is the handling of self-citations, which are either excluded or inappropriately accounted for when using bibliometric indicators for research evaluation. Here, in favor of openly tracking self-citations we report on self-referencing behavior among various academic disciplines as captured by the curated Clarivate Analytics Web of Science database. Specifically, we examined the behavior of 385,616 authors grouped into 15 subject areas like Biology, Chemistry, Science & Technology, Engineering, and Physics. These authors have published 3,240,973 papers that have accumulated 90,806,462 citations, roughly five percent of which are self-citations. Up until now, very little is known about the buildup of self-citations at the author-level and in field-specific contexts. Our view is that hiding self-citation data is indefensible and needlessly confuses any attempts to understand the bibliometric impact of one’s work. Instead we urge academics to embrace visibility of citation data in a community of peers, which relies on nuance and openness rather than curated scorekeeping.
Direct to Full Text Preprint
13 pages; PDF.