An editor at two European Geophysical Union journals has resigned following revelations that he or she engaged in citation manipulation — boosting citations to his or her own papers and associated journals.
Recently we have become aware of a case of scientific malpractice by an editor of two of our journals (SOIL and SE [Solid Earth]) who used the position as editor and reviewer to disproportionately promote citations to personal papers and associated journals. According to our “Publication ethics”, detailed on the “About” tab of all our journals, such “citation manipulation” is considered a scientific malpractice. After concerns expressed by the executive editors, Copernicus looked into the scale of the manipulation and concluded that it was considerable. EGU, Copernicus and the executive editors of the journals decided that prompt action should be taken. The editor concerned has stepped down and the community of the affected journals will be informed of the situation.
We would like to take this opportunity to stress again that EGU and Copernicus adhere to strict publication ethics and we urge editors, referees, and authors to familiarize themselves with our policies and to strictly adhere to the principles of our publication ethics.
Savenije declined to name the editor, saying that the EGU has decided not to make the name of the editor public, because his or her blameless co-authors would be unfairly implicated, and because “we are watchful and that we used this event to stress our publication ethics.” Other journals where the editor serves have been notified, he said.
We have been trying to establish the editor’s identity, but have not been able to confirm it. We’d welcome help from readers, with the caveat that we can’t publish speculative comments. The best way to send evidence is to firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s unclear how common citation-stacking is; we’ve written about the issue in our STAT column. Last year, Thomson Reuters, now part of Clarivate Analytics, delisted two journals for citation stacking, and 16 for excessive self-citation.
Hat tip: Yavor Kamer
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