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Origins and implications of proper citation practices on academic integrity in surgical literature

Published:October 14, 2022DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.surg.2022.08.033
      Citations are a fundamental component of scientific literature that allows researchers to expand on previous research findings and drive knowledge forward; however, they are often used as a metric for academic performance to compare researchers, institutions, and journals.
      • Urlings M.J.E.
      • Duyx B.
      • Swaen G.M.H.
      • Bouter L.M.
      • Zeegers M.P.
      Citation bias and other determinants of citation in biomedical research: findings from six citation networks.
      Citation metrics are especially important in surgical specialties, where high research productivity is an expectation and is necessary for residency matching, promotion, and tenure.
      • LaRocca C.J.
      • Wong P.
      • Eng O.S.
      • Raoof M.
      • Warner S.G.
      • Melstrom L.G.
      Academic productivity in surgical oncology: where is the bar set for those training the next generation?.
      There has been much recent debate on the use of citation metrics such as impact factor (IF) and h-index in determining academic performance, which fail to consider a publication’s quality and contribution to the field. Current citation metrics incentivize researchers to engage in improper citation practices such as author self-citation (A-SC), journal self-citation (J-SC), and citation bias at an inappropriately high rate, which results in inflated citation metrics for both authors and journals as well as bias in scientific results.
      • Urlings M.J.E.
      • Duyx B.
      • Swaen G.M.H.
      • Bouter L.M.
      • Zeegers M.P.
      Citation bias and other determinants of citation in biomedical research: findings from six citation networks.
      ,
      • Sanfilippo F.
      • Tigano S.
      • Morgana A.
      • Murabito P.
      • Astuto M.
      Self-citation policies and journal self-citation rate among critical care medicine journals.
      As scientific literature continues to grow, it is important to recognize the effect that these inappropriate citation practices can have on the proper expansion of scientific literature and to put in place guidelines for publishing that promote literature quality and academic integrity.
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