Journal of Information Science Theory and Practice (Jun 2015)

Impact of Self-Citations on Impact Factor: A Study Across Disciplines, Countries and Continents

  • Pandita, Ramesh,
  • Singh, Shivendra

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 3, no. 2
pp. 42 – 57


Read online

Purpose. : The present study is an attempt to find out the impact of self-citations on Impact Factor (IF) across disciplines. The study examines the number of research articles published across 27 major subject fields covered by SCImago, encompassing as many as 310 sub-disciplines. The study evaluates aspects like percentage of self-citations across each discipline, leading self-citing countries and continents, and the impact of self-citation on their IF. Scope. : The study is global in nature, as it evaluates the trend of self-citation and its impact on IF of all the major subject disciplines of the world, along with countries and continents. IF has been calculated for the year 2012 by analyzing the articles published during the years 2010 and 2011. Methodology/Approach. : The study is empirical in nature; as such, statistical and mathematical tools and techniques have been employed to work out the distribution across disciplines. The evaluation has been purely under-taken on the secondary data, retrieved from SCImago Journal and Country Ranking. Findings. : Self-citations play a very significant part in inflating IF. All the subject fields under study are influenced by the practice of self-citation, ranging from 33.14% to 52.38%. Compared to the social sciences and the humanities, subject fields falling under the purview of pure and applied sciences have a higher number of self-citations, but a far lesser percentage than the social sciences and humanities. Upon excluding self-citations, a substantial amount of change was observed in the IF of subject fields under study, as 18 (66.66%) out of 27 subjects fields faced shuffle in their rankings. Variation in rankings based on IF with and without self-citation was observed at subject level, country level, and continental level.