Science - March 3, 2017

‘No citation cartel in soil science’

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.

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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Re:actions 2

  • Mary

    Eric Brevik, the executive editor of one of the two EGU journals, SOIL, announced he was resigning (March 2nd).
    Professor Paulo Pereira has decided to resign from Land Degradation & Development (April 4th).

  • Matad

    The researcher has obviously used the position as a reviewer and editor to boost her own citation and LDD. The following open review clearly shows the inappropriate behavior
    I suggest publication, although I will recommend the authors to review the paper in the following way. The paper needs an general introduction about the soils in the Earth System and how important they are . . . and to show some literature update Something like: ... Cite lots of LDD papers