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Coercive citation is a malpractice in academic publishing wherein an editor of a scientific journal approached and coerced authors to add unwarranted citations to articles before the editor will......

Coercive citation is a malpractice in academic publishing wherein an editor of a scientific journal approached and coerced authors to add unwarranted citations to articles before the editor will agree to publish it. Previous study only investigated coercive citation from editors to enrich journals’ citations. However this practice has not been researched in an individual serving as editor or reviewer for a journal performing coercive citation with the ambition to boost one’s own citations. This research project undertakes a case study in electrical engineering. My finding is compelling and exposed that the subject of this study is involved in soliciting and coercing other authors into citing his articles in 2 major ways: (1) As editors of several journals, (2) A Guest Editor for a Special Issue. Substantial evidence and proofs from citations of the individual and journals are presented along with the discussion and arguments. The implication of this practice is discussed, mainly to cause agony in the integrity of academic publications.

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  • 1. Coercive Citation as Ways toIncrease One’s CitationsScientific Publishing and EthicsRESEARCH PROJECTBy Malibu Rohwani
  • 2. 1Table of ContentsExecutive Summary ......................................................................................................2Introduction.................................................................................................................3Case Study ...................................................................................................................5Results: Improper but Tenacious..................................................................................6(1) As editors of journals...........................................................................................6Evidence from citations.............................................................................................7Evidence from individual papers ............................................................................8Evidence through references in journals...............................................................10(2) A Guest Editor for a Special Issue.......................................................................13(3) As Reviewer to Journals...................................................................................17Conclusions ...............................................................................................................19References .................................................................................................................20
  • 3. 2Executive SummaryCoercive citation is a malpractice in academic publishing wherein aneditor of a scientific journal approached and coerced authors to addunwarranted citations to articles before the editor will agree topublish it. Previous study only investigated coercive citation fromeditors to enrich journals’ citations. However this practice has notbeen researched in an individual serving as editor or reviewer for ajournal performing coercive citation with the ambition to boostone’s own citations. This research project undertakes a case studyin electrical engineering. My finding is compelling and exposed thatthe subject of this study is involved in soliciting and coercing otherauthors into citing his articles in 2 major ways: (1) As editors ofseveral journals, (2) A Guest Editor for a Special Issue. Substantialevidence and proofs from citations of the individual and journals arepresented along with the discussion and arguments. The implicationof this practice is discussed, mainly to cause agony in the integrityof academic publications.
  • 4. 3IntroductionThe significance of scientific publishing has become very clear,not just about the communication of research discoveries butbecome an obligation of the academic society, academicians getcredit for their work through citations and it was used as a measureof their triumph and success. Citation to a published scientificpublication reference, typically a paper, allows one to judge thework, as source background information vital for futuredevelopment, and acknowledges the contributions. Citation indexesoriginally were designed for information retrieval, but now arecommonly used for research appraisal. Scientific publication isscrutinized by the quantity of citations it can collect. Citation is thefoundation of the journal impact factor and h index.Coercive citation is a malpractice in academic publishingwherein an editor of a scientific journal approached and coercedauthors to add unwarranted citations to articles before the editorwill agree to publish it. Journal editors want to increase the citationsof their journals, because it raises the journal’s impact factor andranking, which is a prestige. Manipulation of impact factors andself-citation has long been known in academic publishing. Whileself-citation can be easily detected, coercive citation is difficult todiscover. A paper in Science in 2012 by Wilhite and Fong indicatedthat about 20% of academics working in economics, sociology,psychology, and multiple business disciplines have experiencedcoercive citation [1]. Individual cases in journals have also beenreported in other disciplines [2].
  • 5. 4Coercive citation was reported to be practiced by the editors ofscientific journals without indicating that the article was actuallylacking in provenance, nor suggesting particular articles, authors, orbodies of work, but merely directing authors to add citations from aparticular author or journal [1].This quote from an editor as a condition for publicationhighlights the quandary: “you cite This Journal only once in your 40references. Consequently, we kindly ask you to add references ofarticles published in This Journal to your present article”.Such a message is clearly deciphered by the authors that thesummoned citations must be added or the article will berejected.[1,3]Wilhite and Fong [1] studied coercive citation from editors toenhance journals’ citations, but this practice of coercive citation canalso be practiced by as an individual serving as editor or reviewerfor a journal with the aim to boost one’s own citations. Failure torecognize this trend is likely to cause an underestimation of thebreadth of practice in this topic. Researching an individual doeshowever provide a good understanding of the overall trend ofpublication and citation. This type of coercive citation has neverbeen studied at a micro-level on individual. To explore the extentand nature of such coercive self-citation, I will conduct a researchproject in this exciting new area using a case study; the citationpattern is carefully analyzed to expose the practice of coercivecitation. By analyzing progressions in research citations, directionsin scientific inquiry can be established, and used to illustrate thedevelopment of scientific publishing and recognition.
  • 6. 5This research provides a comprehensive overview of thevarious tricks that are exercised for increasing citations. I will showthat citation solicitation and coercion is evident and appeared to bepracticed opportunistically in this case. My research through casestudy would make a compelling exposé due to its novelty. Theimplication of this practice is discussed, mainly to cause agony inthe integrity of academic publications.Case StudyI conducted this research project by investigating a case studyusing an individual who is well known anecdotally on the World WideWeb in practicing self-citation. N. Tansu is a Professor of ElectricalEngineering who is well known to have a very high self-citation [4].Some anecdotal studies indicated that the subject has over 50% ofself-citations, supposedly to be deliberate in order to increase hiscitation numbers and h index [5-6]. While self-citation can be easilyfound out, coercive citation is a more sophisticated method which isnot obvious. This research paper seeks to characterize the influenceof coercive citation for a particular individual for one’s personalbenefits. In order to analyze this inclination, publication and citationnumbers and patterns were searched and subsequently recoveredfrom a research database Scopus.Citation databases make it possible to search cited references;that is, they search for references that are listed in thebibliographies of research publications. This enabled one to follow a
  • 7. 6particular cited reference, or cited author, forward in time to findother articles or journals that have cited that author or work.Results: Improper but TenaciousUpon conducting a search using the Scopus database, Iretrieved citation patterns of the subject in different ways, which Iwill explain in the following sections. There are a number of factorsthat can be used in order to narrow down the potential citationanomaly.The analysis is compelling and showed that the subject of thisstudy is hypothesized in soliciting and coercing other authors intociting his articles in 3 ways:(1) As editors of journalsThe subject Tansu is editors for several journals, particularly:1. IEEE OSA JOURNAL OF DISPLAY TECHNOLOGY(http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/stamp/stamp.jsp?arnumber=06517575)2. Optical Materials Express(http://www.opticsinfobase.org/ome/journal/ome/about.cfm#board)3. IEEE Photonics Journal(http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/xpl/aboutJournal.jsp?punumber=4563994)
  • 8. 7The position held as an Associate Editor allows one to solicit andimportune the authors into citing the editor’s papers. This is evidentas most of the citations of the subject came from the above-mentioned 3 journals.The conclusion is justified by three methods of investigation,which is singled out in Scopus database and I will outline in detail inthe following sections.Evidence from citationsUp to May 2013, the subject Tansu has 3131 citations. During Jan2012-May 2013, Tansu obtained almost half of his total citations.These two years represent a sudden increase in citation volume. Iwill found out why.Premise: If coercive citation is to occur, the citations to the subjectshould come mainly from the mentioned-above 3 journals.In 2012, Tansu acquired 621 citations, which came from 204articles, meaning each article are on average gave 3 citations.However, the top references came from:Optical Materials Express (17 references)IEEE Photonics Journal (16 references)In Jan-May 2013, Tansu obtained 685 citations, which is very highconsidering it is only 5 months and more citations than previouswhole year.
  • 9. 8The citations came from 158 articles, meaning each article is onaverage gave 4 citations. However, the top references came from:IEEE OSA Journal of Display Technology (37 references)Optical Materials Express (11 references)IEEE Photonics Journal (5 references)This anomaly is mirrored in further evidences in the followingsections.Evidence from individual papersI also inspected the citations of the subject’s individual papers.Premise: If coercive citation is to occur, the citations to theindividual papers of the subject should come mainly from thementioned-above 3 journals.My finding is that most citations should come from the above-mentioned 3 journals. These are somewhat not extraordinary andherewith are some evidential proofs from some of the papers of thesubject:1. Zhao H., Liu G., Zhang J., Poplawsky J.D., Dierolf V., Tansu N.Approaches for high internal quantum efficiency green InGaNlight-emitting diodes with large overlap quantum wells. 2011,Optics Express, (14)This paper has 160 citations. Tansu himself has 17 self-citations,but the rest of citations come from• 33 citations are from IEEE OSA Journal of Display Technology
  • 10. 9• 20 citations are from Optical Materials Express• 8 citations are from IEEE Photonics JournalThe subject gained 61 citations by coercing other authors to citethis paper.2. Li X.-H., Song R., Ee Y-.K., Kumnorkaew P., Gilchrist J.F., TansuN. Light extraction efficiency and radiation patterns of III-nitride light-emitting diodes with colloidal microlens arrayswith various aspect ratios. 2011, IEEE Photonics Journal, (3)489-499This paper has 89 citations, Tansu himself has 10 self-citations,• 20 citations are from IEEE OSA Journal of Display Technology• 13 citations are from Optical Materials Express• 5 citations are from IEEE Photonics JournalThe subject benefited 38 citations by coercing authors to cite thispaper.3. Zhao H., Liu G., Arif R.A., Tansu N. Current injection efficiencyinduced efficiency-droop in InGaN quantum well light-emittingdiodes. 2010, Solid-State Electronics, (10) 1119-1124This paper has 89 citations, Tansu himself has 25 self citations,• 25 citations are from IEEE OSA Journal of Display Technology• 12 citations are from IEEE Photonics Journal• 5 citations are from Optical Materials ExpressThe subject profited 42 citations from being editors of the 3journals.Another important finding is that almost all of the citationscome from articles from Asian counties (Taiwan, China, Korea andSingapore). These 3 examples not unexpectedly showed that the
  • 11. 10subject has gained more than 50% of citations from being editors.This again justifies my premise; obviously the editor coerced theauthors to add superfluous citations.Evidence through references in journalsIn this era of citation insanity, the choice of journal in whichthe research will be published is very important. It is no longer justthe number of published works that measures an author’s success,but also perhaps more importantly, published research is evaluatedby the number of citations it receives. To validate this hypothesis, Iwill look into the number of references cited by the papers in the 3journals.Premise: If coercive citation is manifested, the number of referencesto the subject (Tansu) should be huge compared to other authors.Anomaly in references should be detected.I looked into the citations and references in the 3 journals:Citations in IEEE OSA JOURNAL OF DISPLAY TECHNOLOGYIn Jan-May 2013, the journal has 115 articlesTansu is the top author with 6 papers1410 References were cited by the 115 articles.Top on the cited list is Nakamura, S. (with 45 citations) an obviousone. (Shuji Nakamura is the inventor of the blue LED, a majorbreakthrough in lighting technology.)But second on the list is Tansu with 43 references.
  • 12. 11In 2012, the journal has 123 articlesAs Tansu was not an editor at the time, he didnt publish a singlearticle in the journal.1787 References were cited by the 123 articles.But Tansu cannot be found in any of the references.This is an anomaly, in 2013 references to Tansu jump from 0 to 43.This can be easily explained because Tansu became an editor in2013 and guest edit a special issue (see below for a full discussion).By becoming an editor, the subject can benefit and crown thecitation list of IEEE OSA JOURNAL OF DISPLAY TECHNOLOGY.Citations in Optical Materials ExpressIn Jan-May 2013, the journal has published 54 articles.Tansu didnt publish any paper.1534 References were cited by the 54 articles.Number one on the list is Tansu, with 25 references.In 2012, the journal has 202 articlesTansu didnt publish any paper.In the 5094 References that were cited by the 202 articles, Tansushared 25 references.In 2011, the journal has 170 articles.Tansu didnt publish any paper.In the 4294 References that were cited by the 202 articles, Tansushared 12 references.Every year the number of citations to Tansu increases showing theanomaly, especially in 2013, Tansu is the top cited references.
  • 13. 12Citations in IEEE Photonics JournalIn Jan-May 2013, the journal has 93 articlesTansu published 6 papersIn the 2261 References that were cited by the 93 articles,Tansu is on the top list with 23 referencesIn 2012, the journal has 264 articlesTansu has 2 papersIn the 5459 References that were cited by the 264 articles,Tansu shared 37 references.In 2011, the journal has 170 articlesTansu didnt publish any paperIn the 2634 References that were cited by the 114 selected articles,Tansu shared 13 references.This trend is not observed in other journals in the same field: IEEEPhotonics Technology Letters, Applied Physics Letters, OpticsExpress, Applied Optics. In other words the subject cannot be foundas the top cited references. This means the work of the subject isnot considered important in other journals, but raise interrogationon why became top cited references are only found in the 3 journalshe edited.Not unexpectedly, it can be concluded that solicited andcoercive citations to Tansu occurred and it is not coincidental thatafter becoming an editor of a journal, the journal is used to boostup his citations.
  • 14. 13Remark: Number of references is not equal to number ofcitations. Each reference could be cited many times by differentpapers. The number of citations is usually higher than number ofreferences.(2) A Guest Editor for a Special IssueBeing part of an editorial board (associate editors) for journalsonly allowed one to have limited coercion to the papers an editorhandle. But if one is selected as a guest editor for a Special Issue,one can coerced all papers to cite one’s papers. The subject was aguest editor for IEEE OSA Journal of Display Technology in Volume 9,Issue 4 (April 2013).http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/xpl/tocresult.jsp?isnumber=6481607&punumber=9425Premise: If coercive citation is manifested, the number of citationsto the subject (Tansu) should occur on every paper in the specialissue and should be huge compared to other authors. Anomaly inreferences should be detected.The special issue that feature Recent advances in solid statelighting turns out to be Advancing one’s citations. Here each of thepapers in the Special issue is analysed and showed that all of thepapers cited Tansu unnecessarily:a) Effects of H2 in GaN barrier spacer layer of InGaN/GaN multiplequantum-well light-emitting diodes. Lai, W.-C., Yang, Y.-Y.201310 citations to Tansu
  • 15. 14b) Investigating the effect of piezoelectric polarization on GaN-based LEDs with different quantum barrier thickness. Wang,C.K., Chiang, T.H., Chen, K.Y., Chiou, Y.Z., Lin, T.K., Chang,S.P., Chang, S.J.9 citations to Tansuc) Lateral current spreading effect on the efficiency droop in GaNbased light-emitting diodes. Huang, S., Fan, B., Chen, Z.,Zheng, Z., Luo, H., Wu, Z., Wang, G., Jiang, H.8 citations to Tansud) Effect of polarization-matched n-type AlGaInN electron-blocking layer on the optoelectronic properties of blue InGaNlight-emitting diodes. Li, Y., Gao, Y., He, M., Zhou, J., Lei, Y.,Zhang, L., Zhu, K., Chen, Y.11 citations to Tansue) Effects of initial GaN growth mode on patterned sapphire onthe opto-electrical characteristics of GaN-based light-emittingdiodes. Chang, H.-M., Lai, W.-C., Chang, S.-J.6 citations to Tansuf) On the Effect of Step-Doped Quantum Barriers in InGaN/GaNLight Emitting Diodes. Zi-Hui Zhang ; Tan, S.T. ; Zhengang Ju ;Wei Liu ; Yun Ji ; Kyaw, Z. ; Dikme, Y. ; Xiao Wei Sun ; Demir,H.V.11 citations to Tansug) Effects of H2 in GaN Barrier Spacer Layer of InGaN/GaNMultiple Quantum-Well Light-Emitting Diodes. Wei-Chih Lai ;Ya-Yu Yang10 citations to Tansuh) Improved Carrier Distributions by Varying Barrier Thickness forInGaN/GaN LEDs. Yu, S.F. ; Ray-Ming Lin ; Chang, S.J. ; Chen,J.R. ; Chu, J.Y. ; Kuo, C.T. ; Jiao, Z.Y.
  • 16. 1510 citations to Tansui) Effect of Si Doping Level in n-Cladding Layer on thePerformance of InGaN-Based Light-Emitting Diodes. ZhiyuanZheng ; Zimin Chen ; Yingda Chen ; Hualong Wu ; Bingfeng Fan; Zhisheng Wu ; Gang Wang ; Hao Jiang7 citations to Tansuj) Performance Improvement of Nitride-Based Light-EmittingDiode With a Thin Mg-Delta-Doped Hole Injection Layer. YulunXian ; Shanjin Huang ; Zhiyuan Zheng ; Bingfeng Fan ; ZiminChen ; Zhisheng Wu ; Gang Wang ; Baijun Zhang ; Hao Jiang9 citations to Tansuk) Observation of Electroluminescence From Quantum Wells FarFrom p-GaN Layer in Nitride-Based Light-Emitting Diodes.Zhiyuan Zheng ; Zimin Chen ; Yingda Chen ; Hualong Wu ;Shanjin Huang ; Bingfeng Fan ; Zhisheng Wu ; Gang Wang ; HaoJiang8 citations to Tansul) Lateral Current Spreading Effect on the Efficiency Droop in GaNBased Light-Emitting Diodes. Shanjin Huang ; Bingfeng Fan ;Zimin Chen ; Zhiyuan Zheng ; Hongtai Luo ; Zhisheng Wu ;Gang Wang ; Hao Jiang8 citations to Tansum)First-Principle Electronic Properties of Dilute-As GaNAs Alloyfor Visible Light Emitters. Chee-Keong Tan ; Jing Zhang ; Xiao-Hang Li ; Guangyu Liu ; Tayo, B.O. ; Tansu, N.8 citations to Tansun) Efficiency and Droop Improvement in Hybrid Warm White LEDsUsing InGaN and AlGaInP High-Voltage LEDs. Kuo-Ju Chen ;Hsuan-Ting Kuo ; Yen-Chih Chiang ; Hsin-Chu Chen ; Chao-
  • 17. 16Hsun Wang ; Min-Hsiung Shih ; Chien-Chung Lin ; Ching-JenPan ; Hao-Chung Kuo3 citations to Tansuo) Enhanced Light Output Power and Growth Mechanism of GaN-Based Light-Emitting Diodes Grown on Cone-ShapedPatterned Template. Da-Wei Lin ; Jhih-Kai Huang ; Chia-Yu Lee; Ruey-Wen Chang ; Yu-Pin Lan ; Chien-Chung Lin ; Kang-Yuan Lee ; Chung-Hsiang Lin ; Po-Tsung Lee ; Gou-Chung Chi; Hao-Chung Kuo6 citations to Tansup) Effects of Initial GaN Growth Mode on Patterned Sapphire onthe Opto-Electrical Characteristics of GaN-Based Light-Emitting Diodes. Hung-Ming Chang ; Wei-Chih Lai ; Shoou-Jinn Chang6 citations to Tansuq) Analysis of interdiffused InGaN quantum wells for visible light-emitting diodes. Zhao, H., Jiao, X., Tansu, N.10 citations to Tansur) Analysis of internal quantum efficiency and current injectionefficiency in III-nitride light-emitting diodes. Zhao, H., Liu, G.,Zhang, J., Arif, R.A., Tansu, N.16 citations to Tansus) Semipolar InGaN/GaN Light-Emitting Diodes for High-Efficiency Solid-State Lighting; Feezell, D.F. ; Speck, J.S. ;DenBaars, S.P. ; Nakamura, S.1 citation to TansuAll papers have 6-10 citations to Tansu, and noticed all papersare from China, Taiwan and Singapore where an editor can easilycoerced the authors. The only paper that escaped is by Feezell and
  • 18. 17Shuji Nakamura, a well-known authority in InGaN LED. This is inaccordance with the research by Wilhite and Fong that many journaleditors appear to strategically target certain authors, such asassistant and associate professors (from Asian countries), ratherthan full professors (Nakamura), relying on the fact that lowerranking authors may be more willing to add the unnecessarycitations. They also found that while the majority of authorsdisapprove of the practice, most acquiesce and add citations whencoerced.Again, not unexpectedly, citation manipulation is observed.The subject gained more than 160 citations from a single journaledition, thanks to IEEE OSA Journal of Display Technology.The excessive citations to Tansu in the papers are not necessary andessentially superfluous. Take an example the paper by Zhang et al.On the Effect of Step-Doped Quantum Barriers in InGaN/GaN LightEmitting Diodes:“For that, staggered InGaN quantum wells have been proposed andinvestigated [16]–[20].” “ …, therefore increasing the radiativerecombination rates [23]–[26]”References [16] -[20] and [23]–[26] are all papers by Tansu. Thisfinding is consistent with a previous study in SPIE Proceedings [6].(3) As Reviewer to JournalsIn addition to being editors, according to his CVhttp://www.ece.lehigh.edu/~tansu/pdf/Tansu_CV.pdf, the subject regularly
  • 19. 18reviewed papers for Applied Physics Letters and Journal of AppliedPhysics. It is conjectured that the subject also coerced authors ofthe paper he reviewed to cite his papers. This is more difficult tohunt down.
  • 20. 19ConclusionsCitation manipulation is as ancient as the process ofprovenance itself, and academicians shouldn’t be stunned thatincongruous citation behavior is occurring. Considering all thisvaluable information, my study suggests that citation solicitationand coercion by an individual is a phenomenon, and is aconundrum. This finding is backed up by solid data from citations ofthe subject and in journals.Coercive citation is primarily targeting vulnerable youngerresearchers from Asian countries as publishing in a journal is acritical consideration for an author. This behavior is in order to havethe greatest effect on the citation of an individual that isopportunistic. This case study showed that an editor gained 160citations from just a single special issue in a journal.This kind of comportment is doing harm to science. I hope thisresearch brings this unscrupulous practice to radiance. If leftunimpeded, it could distort our understanding of scientific qualityand research impact and, over many occasions, disquietpronouncements about tenure, promotion, awards and funding.Prominently, it is adding to the difficulties faced by susceptiblejunior member of faculty who are trying to construct a record fortenure.
  • 21. 20References[1] Wilhite, A. W.; Fong, E. A. (2012). "Coercive Citation in AcademicPublishing". Science 335 (6068): 542–3.doi:10.1126/science.1212540.[2] Smith, R. (1997). "Journal accused of manipulating impactfactor". BMJ 314 (7079): 461. doi:10.1136/bmj.314.7079.461d.[3] Davis, P. (2012) “When Journal Editors Coerce Authors to Self-Cite”. The Scholarly Kitchenhttp://scholarlykitchen.sspnet.org/2012/02/02/when-journal-editors-coerce-authors-to-self-cite/[4] Dem, G. Nelson Tansu: Self Citation Recordhttp://www.academia.edu/794892/Nelson_Tansu_Self_Citation_Record[5] Dem, G. How to increase your papers citations and h index in 5simple steps.http://www.academia.edu/934257/How_to_increase_your_papers_citations_and_h_index_in_5_simple_steps[6] Dem, G. Update in SPIE Proceedings: More Consistent SelfCitation.http://www.academia.edu/633781/Update_in_SPIE_Proceedings_More_Consistent_Self_Citation