When scientific citations go rogue: Uncovering ‘sneaked references’

by | Jul 9, 2024 | Science

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.Hidden manipulationPeople are becoming more aware of scientific publications and how they work, including their potential flaws. Just last year more than 10,000 scientific articles were retracted. The issues around citation gaming and the harm it causes the scientific community, including damaging its credibility, are well documented.Citations of scientific work abide by a standardized referencing system: Eac …

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[mwai_chat context=”Let’s have a discussion about this article:nnA 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.Hidden manipulationPeople are becoming more aware of scientific publications and how they work, including their potential flaws. Just last year more than 10,000 scientific articles were retracted. The issues around citation gaming and the harm it causes the scientific community, including damaging its credibility, are well documented.Citations of scientific work abide by a standardized referencing system: Eac …nnDiscussion:nn” ai_name=”RocketNews AI: ” start_sentence=”Can I tell you more about this article?” text_input_placeholder=”Type ‘Yes'”]
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