Self-Citation Policy

Citing the sources used in a paper is essential as it allows one to provide an opportunity for interested readers to check and gain a more in-depth understanding of the original works, as well as to give credit to the original authors of the cited works thereby staying away from plagiarism. When an author refers to one’s own ideas or data featured in one’s earlier publication, it is a self-citation.

But too many citations to previous works by the same authors are also inappropriate, considered to be a potential attempt to manipulate an author’s own h-index and artificially increase a researcher’s or a journal’s citation count, or, in the case of a journal, its impact factor as well. Engaging in such a practice means the violation of publication ethics: the given party can risk one’s removal from a journal and the journal can lose its existing membership indexing agencies or citation index. In this context by referring COPE citation manipulation documents the publisher finalized the following criteria

  • Editors may have to judge this issue on a case by case basis. If an author lists many references to their own work, this may be an indication of inappropriate citing. Editors may need to systematically check that there are not excessive citations to certain authors or journals. Editor can ask authors to reduce the citation level if they feel there are excessive citations.
  • Self-citations being added at the revision stage is an issue that has arisen. Instructions to authors should make it clear that authors cannot add references at the proof stage. Editors need to pay more attention to the revised paper.
  • If an article is published, and the editor did not notice there were excessive self-citations, particularly if they were added after original peer review, editors should be willing to publish an erratum to say there were inappropriately added references.
  • The publisher encourages authors not to cite self references more than 5 years old and it should exceed 20%.