Another editor has resigned from an earth science journal following allegations over citation irregularities, which also took down its editor-in-chief.
According to Land Degradation & Development website, editor Paolo Pereira has stepped down from the journal. The journal does not say why, and a spokesperson for publisher Wiley did not elaborate. The website has included the announcement about Pereira above a longer statement regarding citation issues at the journal, which saw its Impact Factor rise dramatically from 3.089 in 2014 to 8.145 in 2015.
Pereira — based at Mykolas Romeris University in Lithuania — has co-authored multiple papers with Artemi Cerdà of the University of Valencia in Spain, who stepped down as editor-in-chief of the journal earlier this year.
In February, Land Degradation & Development was contacted by another publisher, who had been investigating citation irregularities between its journals and Land Degradation & Development. Cerdà temporarily stepped down while LDD conducted its own investigation; last month, the journal asked him to step down permanently. Cerdà has also resigned from three journals published by European Geosciences Union/Copernicus.
Cerdà has also resigned from the editorial boards of Geoderma and Catena, published by Elsevier.
As part of its investigation, the European Geosciences Union considered the work of Pereira, who was an editor at Solid Earth, and reviewed papers for that journal and Earth Surface Dynamics (ESurf). The EGU concluded that only Cerdà had manipulated citations. Regarding Pereira’s efforts, the publisher found:
As topical editor, Paulo Pereira handled 42 SE manuscripts. For 4 manuscripts he suggested to include in total 16 additional references to the journals LDD (7), SOIL (1), and others (8). From these suggestions, 6 were included by the authors of 3 manuscripts. These inclusions reference to LDD (2), SOIL (1), and others (3). His maximum was 10 suggestions for a manuscript.
As reviewer, Paulo Pereira worked on 17 manuscripts in the journals ESurf (2) and SE (15). For 3 manuscripts he suggested to include in total 16 additional references to the journals LDD (1), SOIL (2), SE (6), and others (7). His maximum was 7 suggestions for a manuscript.
Last month, we spoke to Cerdà at length; he defended his actions, saying he never forced authors to add citations to their papers (merely made suggestions of other references they should consult for background). He claimed he was being unfairly accused by journals who had to explain why their impact factors had risen dramatically.
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