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Citation gaming «increasingly sophisticated»

Report from Web of Science owners says that universities may need to do more to monitor research integrity. Universities may need to do more to monitor whether their academics are gaming citations, as techniques for boosting them become increasingly sophisticated, it has been warned.

The call comes following a report on research integrity that details some of the ways that academics and journals – and even institutions – around the world may be trying to influence citation rates to further their standing in the research community.

According to the authors of the report, from Web of Science owners Clarivate, it is becoming increasingly difficult to root out citation gaming when it involves multiple players.

Nandita Quaderi, editor-in-chief of Web of Science, told Times Higher Education that since 2005 it had suppressed metrics on journals whose data suggested abnormal rates of citation between articles in the same publication.

It has also taken action where its analyses had indicated evidence of «citation stacking», where referencing activity involving more than one journal was deemed to be unusual.

But, Dr Quaderi warned, «what we are seeing more of now is much more subtle behaviour. Back in 2005 it was quite easy to detect these because the behaviour [was] rare and it was blatant. And it is getting harder now to make those calls because it is becoming more sophisticated».



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