Earlier this week, in a story by Richard van Noorden, Nature revealed the hidden workings of a scheme referred to as “citation stacking” that has landed a number of journals in trouble. The story begins:
Mauricio Rocha-e-Silva thought that he had spotted an easy way to raise the profiles of Brazilian journals. From 2009, he and several other editors published articles containing hundreds of references to papers in each others’ journals — in order, he says, to elevate the journals’ impact factors.
As Nature reports, Rocha-e-Silva was apparently frustrated that Brazilian government agencies were relying heavily on impact factor to evaluate graduate programs. That meant few scientists were willing to publish in Brazilian journals, which had lower impact factors. Rocha-e-Silva describes some of these frustrations in an impassioned 2009 editorial (in Portuguese). Continue reading Journal retracts two papers after being caught manipulating citations