When scientific citations go rogue: Uncovering ‘sneaked references’

From theconversation.com

A researcher working alone – apart from the world and the rest of the wider scientific community – is a classic yet misguided image. Research is, in reality, built on continuous exchange within the scientific community: First you understand the work of others, and then you share your findings.

Reading and writing articles published in academic journals and presented at conferences is a central part of being a researcher. When researchers write a scholarly article, they must cite the work of peers to provide context, detail sources of inspiration and explain differences in approaches and results. A positive citation by other researchers is a key measure of visibility for a researcher’s own work.

But what happens when this citation system is manipulated? A recent Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology article by our team of academic sleuths – which includes information scientists, a computer scientist and a mathematician – has revealed an insidious method to artificially inflate citation counts through metadata manipulations: sneaked references.

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