The COPE citation manipulation document defines the key issues and existing solutions around unethical citation practices. COPE welcomes comments which add to this ongoing debate.
It describes common features of the phenomenon such as deception and lack of quality controls and provides a range of warning signs to look for when assessing a journal. The document details the problems they cause for authors, readers, and other stakeholders, examines established interventions and solutions to address the problem, and presents 30 insightful suggestions from COPE to tackle, avoid, and raise awareness of the problem of predatory journals.
Citation manipulation is a problem when references do not contribute to the scholarly content of the article, and are included solely to increase citations.
Any party which includes or requests to add citations where the motivations are merely self-promotional violates publication ethics.
Penalties for citation manipulation may include removal of editors from editorial roles, or removal or rejection of journals from citation indexes.
Journals should develop policies and standards to determine self-citation thresholds, provide educational resources to support best practice and establish procedures to respond to potential misconduct.
There may be instances where self-citation and requests for citations are legitimate
Citation games: mocking research COPE speaker presentation at ISMTE European Virtual Event, 2020
Citations: link, locate, discover, connect Guest article, August 2018
Self-citation: where's the line? Forum discussion, November 2017
COPE welcomes feedback from publishers, journal editors, reviewers, researchers, institutions, librarians, funders, and other stakeholders on this subject. Add your feedback below.
About this resource
Written by COPE Council
Version 1 July 2019
How to cite this
COPE Council. COPE Discussion Document: Citation Manipulation. July 2019. https://doi.org/10.24318/cope.2019.3.1
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