Science - March 3, 2017

‘No citation cartel in soil science’

Text:
Albert Sikkema

There is no ‘citation cartel’ among European soil researchers, declared the European Geosciences Union (EGU). The EGU investigated whether a group of eight editors of soil scientific journals abused their position to acquire higher citation scores.

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The EGU examined the correspondence between the editors and soil researchers that published in the journals SOIL, Solid Earth and Geoderma. The only one found to have manipulated his citation score was the Spanish professor Artemi Cerdà. He did this by requiring scientists to refer to his own papers. This led to around a hundred unwarranted referrals to twelve articles in Geoderma in the past ten years, announced publisher Elsevier. However, Geoderma did not find any indications of a systematic elevation of the citation scores of a group of editors, nor did they find any indications of the existence of a ‘citation cartel’, in which editors and researchers would constantly refer to each other’s papers.

Innocent
With this release, the EGU and Geoderma refute the anonymous allegations that a group of five to eight editors of soil scientific journals would form a ‘citation cartel’. One of the alleged members of the cartel was a Wageningen soil researcher. The soil science association declared that only a single person improved their citation score in an illicit manner and that the other editors, including the one from Wageningen, are innocent. The matter is also being examined by the Scientific Integrity Committee of WUR. It is unknown when they will finish their investigation.

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