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  • 1 Département de Biologie, Chimie et Géographie, Université du Québec à Rimouski, 300 Allée des Ursulines, Rimouski, PQ G5L-3A1, Canada
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Abstract

Ecologists writing research articles frequently cite their own papers. Self-citations are frequent in science, but the reasons behind abnormally high rates of self-citations are questionable. My goals were to assess the prevalence of author self-citations and to identify the combination of attributes that best predict high levels of self-citations in ecology articles. I searched 643 articles from 9 different ecology journals of various impact factors for synchronous (i.e., within reference lists) and diachronous (i.e., following publication) self-citations, using the Web of Science online database. I assessed the effect of the number of authors, pages, and references/citations, the proportion of diachronous/synchronous self-citations, and the impact factor, on the proportion of synchronous and diachronous self-citations separately. I compared various candidate models made of these covariates using Akaike's Information Criterion. On average, ecologists made 6.0 synchronous self-citations (12.8% of references), and 2.5 diachronous self-citations (25.5% of citations received 2.8 to 4.5 years after publication) per article. The best predictor of the proportion of synchronous self-citations was the number of authors. My study is the first to report recidivism in the inclusion of self-citations by researchers, i.e., the proportion of diachronous self-citations was best explained by the proportion of synchronous self-citations. The proportion of self-citations also increased with the number of pages and the impact factor of ecology journals, and decreased with the number of references/citations. Although a lot of variance remained unexplained, my study successfully showed regularities in the propensity of ecologists to include self-citations in their research articles.

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Scientometrics
Language English
Size B5
Year of
Foundation
1978
Volumes
per Year
1
Issues
per Year
12
Founder Akadémiai Kiadó
Founder's
Address
H-1117 Budapest, Hungary 1516 Budapest, PO Box 245.
Publisher Akadémiai Kiadó
Springer Nature Switzerland AG
Publisher's
Address
H-1117 Budapest, Hungary 1516 Budapest, PO Box 245.
CH-6330 Cham, Switzerland Gewerbestrasse 11.
Responsible
Publisher
Chief Executive Officer, Akadémiai Kiadó
ISSN 0138-9130 (Print)
ISSN 1588-2861 (Online)