After a manuscript was accepted, an author passed away before they could complete the conflict of interest statement and copyright transfer documents. The publishing company requires that all authors complete these documents prior to publishing.
The other authors do not want to remove the deceased author from the manuscript.
Question(s) for the COPE Forum
Who has the authority to complete these documents for the deceased author?
Are there any special notations that should be made in the manuscript?
The Forum asked for clarification from the editor regarding when in the publication cycle the author died and did the author see the final version of the submitted and accepted article? The editor told the Forum that the author had seen the final accepted version. Hence the Forum agreed that it seems reasonable that the author should remain on the byline. It would be possible to ask his next of kin or executor to verify the conflict of interest (COI) statement to obtain a notarized statement, if that is required, if the editor is not comfortable taking an informal statement from the co-authors.
For the journal, there are three components: clarifying the COI statement, fulfilling the authorship criteria and signing the copyright agreement. There is still a non-financial aspect to potential COIs, which seems to be difficult to ascertain with certainty.
For the purposes of transparency, it would be useful for the editor to add a statement or footnote on the paper, including the date of death in relation to participation in authorship and a statement to the effect that to the best of their ability, the journal has determined there was no COI. It is questionable that the deceased author would benefit from any COI. Further, the Forum agreed that COIs, leading to bias in the work, would have been uncovered at the time of grant funding or peer review of the manuscript.
The Forum applauded the editor’s due diligence in handling this matter.
Our journal received a manuscript which was a report of an evaluation and enhancement of an online clinical decision support system (CDS) for a specific population at risk of a disease. The online CDS had been developed by a national agency with a mission to support health promotion and disease prevention activities. Evaluation of the CDS was supported through contracts and sub-contracts. The first author was an employee of a university that was a sub-contractor on the project; the second and third authors were employees of a business that describes itself as providers of innovative scientific and technical solutions for national agencies through a consortium of more than 100 universities. The first author’s university was part of this consortium.
The manuscript was submitted to our journal 3 months after the project was finished. Project reports were also submitted to the national agency through the sub-contractors. The second author was the primary conduit of communication between the sub-contractors and the national funding agency.
As a result of the project report and evaluation, the national agency made changes to the online CDS, which included taking down the online version that was reported in the manuscript. When the manuscript was revised, the first author decided to include screenshots from the national agency which described the CDS even though it was no longer available online.
The revised manuscript was submitted, re-reviewed, and after a few small changes, accepted for publication. Shortly thereafter, the editorial associate for the journal contacted the first author to inquire about whether permission was needed to print the screenshots. The first author asked the second author to verify that the national agency was happy about the inclusion of the screenshots. She replied that the agency approved. During the proofing stage, when the second author did not respond to emails, the editorial assistant contacted the agency directly and was told that the programme officer was totally unaware of the existence of the manuscript. Questions surrounding the actions of the second author then emerged pertaining to the details of his communication with the national agency prior to the manuscript being submitted to our journal.
The first author contacted the journal and said the proofs had to be reviewed and approved by the primary funder. As editor, I replied that at the page proof stage, all edits/changes must be very minor. Substantial changes would require that the manuscript be taken out of the production process and depending on the nature of the changes, the entire submission and review process might have to begin anew.
During a telephone call with the first author she stated that she believed the second author had lied regarding eliciting input and obtaining permission from the national agency to submit and publish the manuscript in our journal. Further, the second author had been fired from his job for “ethical transgressions,” and was now doing work completely unrelated to his previous job for the sub-contractor. She believed he had contributed little to the original paper. The first author has been dealing with the fallout from this and the funding agency. She asked if she should withdraw the manuscript? Or if not, should the second author be listed as an author?
As editor, I am reluctant to have the second author remain on the manuscript, especially given the fact that he may have done less on the manuscript than he originally said and may not even qualify for authorship according to the ICMJE guidelines. The first author agrees with this, but she is concerned that he may take litigious action against her, the university where she works, or the journal.
Question(s) for the COPE Forum
Should the journal reject the manuscript? Is it unsalvageable at this point?
If the journal does not reject the manuscript, should the second author be removed? How could that be handled?
The editor provided an update to the Forum. Although the authors were originally working at the same agency, there was a change in employment and only the first author was now employed there. Through conversations with the third author, it became apparent that the second author had delegated manuscript writing to the third author, who was an intern at the time for the consulting agency. Subsequently, the second author had been fired from the consulting agency for unclear reasons.
The Forum agreed that it would be unwise for this paper to go forward given the authorship conflicts, the questionable timeliness or veracity of the data, the status of the permissions from the federal funding agency, and the lack of response from the second author (presumably because he had left the agency). The first and third authors could be encouraged to write a different paper in light of the problems. While the Forum recognized the editor’s wish to try and help the author get their paper published, the process should stop at the point of consent or lack thereof and when the authorship issues became questionable. Further changes by the programme officer would likely change the paper significantly such that it would need to be re-reviewed.
The majority of the Forum believed the paper should be rejected even though it is currently at the page proof stage. The editor asked if rejection should occur earlier in the process and suggested asking the author to withdraw the paper. Another suggestion was to check with the publisher if there is a technical term for suspending the paper at this point.
The editor raised the issue that this paper, because it is interesting, a timely topic, and has undergone peer review and revisions, and copyediting, might be published in a predatory journal so it was fortuitous that the issue was caught prior to publication.
An original paper was submitted to our journal. After peer review, the authors were requested to revise the paper, and the revision was submitted back to the journal. Our manuscript editor accepted the paper.
The paper was scheduled for publication 3 months later after copyediting was completed. We informed the corresponding author about acceptance of the paper and sent them the typeset article for proof reading.
The corresponding author contacted us stating that they wished to withdraw their submission, two weeks after we sent their paper for proof reading. As the chief editor, I immediately sent a message to the corresponding author and requested an explanation. The articles have been edited by one format editor, three peer reviewers, one manuscript editor, one copy editor, and finally typeset by our printer. We do not charge any article processing fees.
Question(s) for the COPE Forum
Significant resources have been provided to modify and improve the paper. Should we accept the withdrawal?
Is there anything else we should do if the authors do not respond to our request for an explanation?
The Forum noted that editors have no control over whether authors withdraw a paper even if significant work towards publication has already been done. The Forum questioned why the authors did not receive notification that their paper had been accepted before copyediting began. Were all the authors notified of this decision? Did they assign copyright, or did they agree to publication?
The Forum recommended that journal processes should be in place to preclude these situations. The editor should re-evaluate the journal’s internal editorial processes. Is there a possibility that the authors discovered a critical error and decided they could not publish the paper? The editor could consider communicating with the authors to determine if something in their process caused them to withdraw their paper. The editor would not want to publish an article if the author wants to withdraw it.
The editor has no choice but to accept the author’s decision. The Forum recommended that the journal should review their internal processes to make sure expectations are clear in their communications with authors and revise where needed. COPE’s journal auditing tool (https://publicationethics.org/news/new-cope-audit) might be helpful to the editor in that process.
Journal A is dedicated to communication about practical treatments related directly to patient and personal experiences. These ongoing discussions have been part of this specific medical profession for the past 50 years and journal A is a platform for these discussions.
Regarding new treatments and new developments, permission from the local medical ethical commission is mandatory as well as patient written permission for publication. For all other cases concerning standard practise reports about practical treatment issues, only written informed consent from the patient is needed before publication. As expected, only successful practical treatment cases are submitted for publication to journal A.
The society related to the journal organizes a biannual complication meeting which is attended by a small audience of around 120 doctors at which participants present their complication cases. At this meeting, many basic complications are discussed, which can be related to lack of education, lack of knowledge of materials, lack of knowledge about patient disease, or insufficient training, some of which have devastating outcomes. Many of these complications are avoidable.
As an editor and a doctor, I would like to publish some of these cases to improve patient safety and healthcare in general. However, the authors are often afraid of legal repercussions and patients are often not willing to provide consent after bad experiences. My solution would be to publish a series of these case reports as one publication with all authors in alphabetic order. I would leave out specific patient demographics, such as age and gender, and I would do so without written patient informed consent.
Question(s) for the COPE Forum
Would this publication violate COPE guidelines? If yes, how could this be resolved?
Is there any other way to resolve these issues?
The Forum agreed that the idea of presenting cases which do not result in improved patient safety or actual patient harm for learning opportunities is an interesting one and worthy of exploration. If any of the cases in this series have pending legal issues within an institution, this would be a significant consideration to protect the legal process. The editor must consider the legal environment in the country of origin, including regulations on informed consent.
As there are 120 cases, are there also 120 authors? If there are many authors, it may be easy to anonymise the cases, especially if the authors could be added in alphabetical order to help disguise identities. Otherwise, it is difficult to anonymise the data and retain essential elements for learning purposes. A suggestion was to publish one case per issue, deidentifying the data and to make all 120 presenters (or however many there are) the author(s). Another suggestion was to have a recurring column in a journal that has an ethics committee, who would review the cases and make necessary changes for protecting subjects’ identities. The journal could also seek institutional review of the cases to ensure that blinding was sufficient.
The Forum noted that changing the data is not acceptable unless that is clearly indicated in the text; if the case is a composite, this must also be stated. The reason being that researchers might be interested in doing composites of these cases, which would be based on false data unless the original cases are clearly labelled as composite or fictional scenarios.
If the editor wants to develop this project, he needs to have a strategic plan to publish these cases that considers the larger picture, and involves a sound, rational approach, which might be very valuable to readers. The Forum encouraged a careful review of the potential legal and privacy issues that must be addressed.
An article was submitted to our journal (journal A) in March. According to the journal’s working policy, the article was initially reviewed inhouse and comments were sent to the author. The authors replied to the comments but did not agree to the suggestion to convert the article to a short report. A rather impolite letter was sent by the author criticising the policies of the journal. We sent a reply that if the authors were not happy with the journal’s decision, they could withdraw the article according to the guidelines which are clearly given on our website.
The authors did not follow the journal procedures for withdrawing the article—they did not submit the withdrawal form signed by all authors. According to journal policy, the copyright of any manuscript remains with the journal, unless it is withdrawn in the proper manner.
The authors submitted the article to another local journal (journal B) where it was immediately published.
As the file was not closed at journal A, multiple reminders were sent to the authors. We wanted to remove the file from our database if the authors were no longer interested in publication. The authors wrote back that the article was published in July.
We first wrote to the authors that this was unethical and amounted to dual submission. We again received a rather impolite reply. We then wrote to the editor of the journal in which the article was published. Apparently, this journal does not ask for a non-submission undertaking from the authors. The editor was quite vague in his reply. We sent him the details of dual submission to which he sent a two line reply asking as to what should be done. We suggested that the copyright of the article is still with us so he should remove the article from the journal’s website until the article is withdrawn in the correct manner. The editor has not taken any steps and the article is still displayed on the other journal’s website.
Question(s) for the COPE Forum
Should we do nothing about the authors’ wrongdoing?
If no action is taken, will it encourage the authors to misbehave in the future for the sake of convenience
Should we pursue the matter with the editor of the journal who has made the mistake but is not responding.
It seems the authors did not follow the preferred journal policy, but the behaviour is not necessarily unethical. The editor told the Forum that copyright is transferred to the journal on submission. The Forum noted that although copyright does formally belong to journal A, the journal does not have the article or the revisions, and hence they are holding copyright on an article that they do not want to publish. Manuscript submission systems can be very cumbersome and inconvenient, and it seems harsh to punish the authors for a technical issue. Perhaps a production editor could help with the process if an author decides to withdraw their paper.
Although the authors’ behaviour was impolite, using copyright as a reason to have a claim on a paper is not reasonable. The behaviour was impolite, but it was not unethical. The journal may wish to modify their policies so that withdrawing an article does not involve this technical hitch.
A suggestion was for the journal to revise their policy of requiring copyright transfer on submission. It is unusual internationally, and it can in effect hold the authors hostage. Another suggestion was to email the authors explaining their error, and then letting the matter rest. The editor might also contact the editor of the other journal one last time to discuss the matter. Perhaps journal Y did have a discussion with the authors and from their perspective they may think the authors correctly withdrew their paper.
Advice on follow up:
As suggested by the COPE Forum, we wrote to the editor of journal B demanding an action in the form of contacting the authors and asking them to withdraw the article from our journal. Eventually the editor did convince the authors and they submitted the withdrawal form. The case is now closed.
A manuscript was published in our journal in 2015, and at the time of publishing (as now), the author was a faculty member of a university. The author's affiliation was not declared in the article, just the author's qualifications. Now the author wishes us to correct the paper and list her affiliation in the article.
Question(s) for the COPE Forum
What is the Forum's advice?
Should the journal correct the affiliation of the author in the paper after publication?
Correcting the paper is important for maintaining the accuracy of the published record and to maintain consistency and clarity. Authors make mistakes all the time. There is nothing unethical in a missed affiliation. A formal correction/erratum is appropriate here. It is considered good practice that author affiliations should be published for all articles. This information is important for identifying conflicts of interest.
Downloaded versions of the paper may be available, and therefore a formal erratum, linked directly to the online article, should be done. The correction should state the facts, that the affiliation was not included in the original paper, but it was the affiliation at the time and remains the affiliation now. Issued corrections are good for a journal as they provide proof that the journal is doing what it must do to keep the public record straight, accurate and transparent.
The journal might like to consider requiring all authors to use ORCID IDs. This way, affiliations can be updated, but the ORCID ID stays the same.
Following the advice from the Forum, the journal complied with the author’s request. The journal changed the affiliation in the online version and re-uploaded the article on the journal’s website.
A case report was submitted to our journal (journal X) in February and accepted for publication in September that same year. In late September, the first author on the manuscript contacted us to inform us that this exact case report had just been published in another journal (journal Y) by some of his colleagues, including some of the authors of our manuscript. In the initial submission to our journal, there were 10 authors.
During the review process, two authors were removed from the article at their request. This happened in May, between manuscript resubmission. These two authors then submitted the case report to journal Y, with a new set of co-authors.
We have confirmed with the Editor-in-Chief (EiC) of journal Y that they received their initial submission in May. As noted, the authors on journal Y’s publication include the two authors removed from our journal version, plus one additional co-author who is present on both author lists. This third co-author has since requested to be removed from journal Y’s publication. He was included as a co-author without his consent or knowledge.
We contacted the Research Integrity Office of the author’s institution to request an internal investigation. This investigation confirmed our author’s version of events. We informed the EiC of journal Y of the outcome of the institutional investigation and asked them to take the appropriate action in retracting the article. The EiC assured us that the journal was investigating also but the enquiry was not yet complete. We followed up several times, including attempting an international call with them, but to no avail. We also requested the journal to act in compliance with COPE guidelines on author misconduct.
Journal Y is not a member of COPE but is published by a reputable medical organisation. Finally, in September a year later, the EiC of journal Y responded to our many follow-ups to indicate that they are satisfied with the actions of the authors of the publication in their journal and will not be retracting the article. We asked the EiC for a rationale so that we have all the available information to determine our next steps. We have not received a response despite repeated requests. As we had confirmation from the authors’ institution and journal Y that ours was the original version of the paper, we did not feel justified in holding the paper any longer in production. It was published after several months’ delay. In the meantime, we have asked our authors to approach the other journal directly for further information.
Question(s) for the COPE Forum
Does the author’s institution have any responsibility to contact the EiC to request further action?
What further action can we take to elicit a response from the EiC regarding their rationale for their decision?
The Forum questioned why the editor had decided to go ahead with publication of the paper, knowing that journal Y had already published it in their journal. The editor said that as the paper had already been accepted, that there was a provisional version online and that the institution had confirmed the authors version of events, it seemed unfair to penalise the authors. The Forum asked if the journal had cited the other journal when they published the case report, as there are now two versions of the same case report with different authors. Perhaps the journal might consider putting a note on the paper or an expression of concern to highlight to readers that there is an authorship dispute in relation to this paper and that there are two online versions available.
The editor could ask for the authors to list their contributions to the original paper, and ask journal Y to do the same. This may shed some light on the authorship dispute. The Research Integrity Office were part of the original investigation, so they should be in a position to know the contributions of the authors. Hence the advice from the Forum was to pursue the institution. This is clearly an author conflict and so concerns should be raised to the institution. As the authors are from the same institution, and indeed the same department, this authorship dispute should be handled by their employer.
If the second journal is not open access, then the second group of authors may have signed over copyright, so they may be copyright issues. This is impossible for the editor to adjudicate and so again, the institution needs to be involved.
The journal may wish to consider always requiring author contribution statements to be submitted with any paper, thus preventing a similar situation in the future. The Forum stressed that it is very important to communicate with all authors, not just the corresponding author, regarding any aspects of a paper.
A single author submitted a paper to our journal. A similarity check revealed 48% similarity with another published paper. The published paper was by different authors—5 in total. The similarities between the papers were in the introduction, methods and discussion sections. The submitting author did not reference the published article.
We queried the corresponding author but have not received a response.
Question(s) for the COPE Forum
• What shall we do given this circumstance?
• Should we withdraw/reject the article and embargo the author.
• Should we contact the author’s institute without receiving any clarifications from the author?
• How long should we wait for a response from the author before reporting to the institute?
The Forum would advise contacting the author one more time, and specifically stating that if no response is received within a given time frame, then the editor will contact the author’s institution and ask them to investigate. The editor should be very clear about the date by which a response is expected. That may provide the motivation for the author to respond.
The Forum asked what is the percentage similarity that should raise concerns? This varies widely—by discipline, even by editors within the same discipline. The similarity index needs to be reviewed carefully, and experienced editors will look at all aspects of the article and the sources when deciding if there is significant overlap. Is there a minimum cut-off score below which there is no need to check for plagiarism? One study found a cut-off value of 15% to be useful (https://researchintegrityjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s410...).
If the editor believes that there was no malicious intent on the part of the authors, an educational approach may be appropriate—for example, if the authors are junior researchers. The editors could explain what is expected of authors in terms of attribution of text, and best practice in this area. However, the editor may not be in a position to know the intent of the authors and this would be better addressed by the institution.
The journal cannot proceed moving this article forward until some of these questions are answered. COPE would never advise banning authors because of the legal implications.
In 2016, group A published manuscript X in our journal. In early 2017, group B submitted a comment critical of the published manuscript. Following peer review, in accordance with the journal’s then active policy, the comment was rejected from further consideration. The policy allowed for the author of the original article to be one of the peer reviewers of the comment.
The lead author of group A, acting as one of the three referees for the comment, indicated in their confidential comments to the editor that group A would be submitting a correction to address issues arising from the comment. Group A duly submitted and published a correction to manuscript X. Soon after, the journal was contacted by a legal representative of group B to express their concern over the publication of the correction by group A. The representative indicated a concern that the unpublished comment submitted to the journal contributed in part to the submission and publication of the correction. Group B researchers considered that the submission of their comment under the journal’s then active comment/reply policy had allowed the authors of the correction to prepare their manuscript using material that they had been privy to only via their involvement in the peer review of the comment, and that this fact had not been acknowledged in the correction.
Group B requested the journal withdraw the correction and re-open the peer review of the comment. As the journal’s management team considered that the first request would leave an error in the scientific record uncorrected and the second request was unlikely to result in a change of outcome, the journal instead investigated the matter raised by the representative Group B, with the goal of preparing a new correction for publication to take into account the facts of the matter following the investigation.
The investigation identified an error on the part of the administrative team that contributed to this situation; namely, failing to ensure the authors of the correction provided due acknowledgement of the provenance of the correction. As part of the investigation, the journal contacted group A for their input. The authors agreed they should have included an acknowledgement, but not having seen similar acknowledgements on other corrections published by the journal declined to include one in their correction. However, group A also noted that they had exchanged email correspondence with group B, prior to the submission of the comment, about some of the matters subsequently included in the comment. Group A have been at pains to stress that their correction was not primarily prompted by the comment.
The journal has engaged with both parties to find a mutually agreed statement on the chain of events that contributed to the publication of the correction, with a view to republishing the correction to clarify both the scientific record and the sequence of events. This has resulted in a great deal of time and effort being expended on several draft statements prepared by the journal over the previous 14 months.
As the matter remains unresolved between the two groups, the journal’s team has elected to publish nothing at all. The groups have been informed of this, and that the journal remains amenable to publishing a statement if the two parties are able to agree a form of words between themselves.
Nevertheless, the publisher regularly reviews its working practices and editorial policies, and this case has contributed to a change of the policies enacted by the publisher to reduce the likelihood of similar sequences of events and outcomes in future. Taking our experience in this case into account and aiming to address potential future conflicts of interest in submitted comments, a new comment/reply policy has been adopted. In hindsight, the previous comment/reply policy was problematic for a number of reasons, including the potential conflict of interest in having the author of the original paper being involved in the peer review of the submitted comment.
Question(s) for the COPE Forum
• Given the apparent impossibility of the two parties agreeing a form of words, and the threats of legal action and publishing their own version elsewhere, is the journal justified in choosing NOT to publish anything? Would it be better to publish the journal’s view anyway and accept the potential risks?
• While recognising the publisher’s original comment/reply policy contributed to this matter, does the Forum have any advice on how the publisher/journal could or should handle similar disputes in future? The policy has been amended to reduce the possibility of conflicts of interest.
• How far should the publisher go in trying to resolve disputes between groups (especially where, as in this case, only one party has actually published in the journal)?
The Forum agreed with the way the journal had handled this difficult situation, and that the editors had done a good job here.
One suggestion was that when the journal changed its policy, it may have been a good idea to explain why, in an editorial, which could have included anonymised details from the case and the reasons for the change in policy.
Another suggestion was that the journal could have been more transparent upfront when rejecting the comment. They may have been able to head off the dispute if they had informed the authors their reasons for doing so and explained what the journal then intended to do.
No subsequent correspondence from the affected parties has been received. The editor considers the case closed.
A handling editor noticed a reviewer report where the reviewer instructed the author to cite multiple publications by the same reviewer in their manuscript. The handling editor noted a similar instance involving this reviewer from the past and requested the editorial office to look into his reviewing history. This uncovered a concerning pattern of behaviour where the reviewer habitually asked authors to add citations to his work when reviewing their manuscript, often when there was no scientifically legitimate reason to do so.
A deeper analysis of this reviewer’s activity showed that he predominantly asked for his own papers to be cited, as well as citations to papers that heavily cited his work. In some cases, he requested for more than 30 citations of his own papers to be added to a single manuscript. His citation requests were heavily weighted towards recent publications, giving preference to citations within a particular timeframe.
According to COPE’s ethical guidelines, reviewers should “refrain from suggesting that authors include citations to your (or an associate’s) work merely to increase citation counts or to enhance the visibility of your or your associate’s work; suggestions must be based on valid academic or technological reasons”.
The handling editor brought the issue to the journal’s editors-in-chief to see if there was legitimate scientific reason for these papers to be cited. (Note: in our editorial structure, handling editors make final decisions about papers; the editors-in-chief do not review decision letters before they are sent out). After reviewing the papers in question, the editors-in-chief did not see a reason why these additional citations were scientifically necessary. The editors-in-chief then drafted a letter to the reviewer to ask him to explain the pattern and why he requested these additional citations. The handling editor and editors-in-chief agreed to allow time for the reviewer to respond. No response was received.
The reviewer has only one academic affiliation, however it is with an institution that has been previously found to offer financial incentives to Clarivate’s highly cited researchers in exchange for the researcher’s agreement to include an affiliation to their institution in future publications. The reviewer is self-employed, thus without an institutional employer, and the editorial team have no direct recourse to an institution in this case.
In response to this case, the journal has banned this individual from reviewing for the journal. We are writing an editorial to clarify the journal’s official position on when reviewer requested citations are appropriate and to offer some suggestions to help others detect this behaviour. Editorial staff have convened a meeting with all the journal’s handling editors to ensure they are all familiar with COPE and the journals ethical standards, and to ensure they are looking out for cases of citation manipulation. Instructions to reviewers have also been updated to make it clear that there must always be a scientifically legitimate reason to suggest the author add citations to existing scholarship.
Question(s) for the COPE Forum
• What does COPE recommend to the journal editorial team in this case where the reviewer does not have an institutional body to turn to in order to continue the investigation?
• What else can the journal do to ensure that other journals working with this reviewer are aware of his evident citation manipulation?
• Should the journal also ban this individual as an author, both out of concern for his potential for future ethical problems, but also as a deterrent for those who might behave similarly?
• What, if anything, should the journal have done differently? Are there other actions the journal can take?
• Do other journals have safeguards in place that would help identify a pattern such as this one more easily?
Editors can share these data with Web of Science/Clarivate who work on algorithms at the journal level and for groups of journals regarding citation stacking. However, there are currently no tools available to detect this type of citation manipulation and hence no effective measures against it.
The usual advice in such situations would be for the editor to contact the reviewer’s institution. As the reviewer is self-employed, this is not possible in this case. The editor told the Forum that they had contacted the author’s one academic affiliation, with no response.
The authors of these papers must have accepted the insertion of so many citations—are they also complicit/being incentivised somehow to include? Authors should push back when asked to include extra citations.