Self-Citation Patterns of Journals Indexed in the Journal Citation Reports

Taskin Z., DOĞAN G., Kulczycki E., Zuccala A. A.

JOURNAL OF INFORMETRICS, vol.15, no.4, 2021 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 15 Issue: 4
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.joi.2021.101221
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, Applied Science & Technology Source, Compendex, Computer & Applied Sciences, INSPEC, Library and Information Science Abstracts, Library Literature and Information Science
  • Keywords: Journal self-citation, journal impact factor, self-citation patterns of journals, impact factor manipulation, IMPACT FACTORS, SCIENCE, AUTHOR, RATES, CLASSIFICATION, PERIPHERY
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


Self-citation patterns of 1,104 journals indexed in the 2018 edition of the Journal Citation Reports were examined to assess the possibility of underlying rank manipulations. The journals included in this study were all found to have a self-citation rate of more than 25%. Our research shows that by excluding self-citation rates, the rank of journals with a high impact factor are not affected; however, for other journals, the removal of even a single self-citation can cause significant rank changes. Self-citation patterns are typical for local language journals as well as journals from upper-middle-income European countries. Impact factors used in research performance evaluations should be used more carefully, particularly when variables such as journal size, publication language, publisher country, and subject area correlate with self-citation rates.