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Author Topic: 'strategic' citations  (Read 15843 times)
naive grad student
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« on: November 17, 2005, 7:17:07 PM »

I have been advised by faculty to add citations to work I am submitting using what seems a shady strategy. They do not tell me to cite specific pieces of work relevant to the research (which would make sense to me). Instead, the basic advice is to find a way to cite people on the journal's editorial board. Other times I am advised to cite people at a department I am applying to. Is this common practice?
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helpful
Guest
« Reply #1 on: November 18, 2005, 3:48:29 AM »

What field are you in?

It seems you have cynical advisors. I would run, not walk, to another advisory ctee.
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Senior Scholar
Guest
« Reply #2 on: November 18, 2005, 5:24:29 AM »


When I read book manuscripts for university presses, one of the main points in my "revise and resubmit" report is always "get rid of the footnotes that are only there to prove to your committee that you've read everything; i.e., the 'for this see this scholar and that scholar and that book and these three articles.' An accomplished scholar publishes for people who already know the big names."

I would say that your adviser is cynical and also determined to make you look like a beginner instead of an accomplished scholr.
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anon
Guest
« Reply #3 on: November 18, 2005, 6:17:43 AM »

Standard practice in my field, which is why I write books, not articles: a good book is harder to reject due to a lack of kiss-up citations than a good article, because press editors care about quality and the bottom line.
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Researcher
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« Reply #4 on: November 18, 2005, 6:38:11 AM »

If it is truly irrelevant, leave such citations out.  On the other hand, I sometimes find myself coming across recent work on a topic after I've completed a draft of an article that goes in a different direction than I have.  I think it is worth alerting readers to the existence of these materials, even if it is by "big names" on the editorial board.  It is rather annoying to do substantial work on a topic and then read a paper submitted to your journal by an author who appears to be blissfully ignorant of the fact that you've already done a lot of the work rehashed in the article.  It can often be helpful to point how your work differs from Dr. Big's work, so long as that can be done in a non-competitive fashion.

I also like to think of scholarship as participating in an economy of gratitude where citations serve as a thank-you note and an invitation to others to indebt themselves in the same way to the pioneers of big thoughts.  From this, it should be evident that I am very junior and not an iconoclast.  There are worse personas to adopt as a scholar, and I think that the "I have nothing to learn from the dead trees of the past" persona is particularly grating.
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s
Guest
« Reply #5 on: November 18, 2005, 7:29:35 AM »

do  not search for citations be board members, but be sure to include citations to similar articles in the journal you're submitting to.
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Cityprof
Guest
« Reply #6 on: November 18, 2005, 9:51:14 AM »

I don't really have advice to offer, but your post makes me realize that I don't "play the game" very well. Although if anon and I are in the same field this  maybe explains why I had minimal trouble landing a book contract for my first book but have had a couple of nearly inexplicable article rejections. This includes one that was so rude and outrageously cruel that I think the journal editor left the reviewer's name on the top of it for my benefit--so I would realize this reviewer was a loon and not take it personally.

It so happens that when I looked up the reviewer's work I discovered that he had published an obscure book on the literature I was writing about--one that I am willing to bet never gets cited because it contains such bizarre (though to him, surely ground-breaking and unique) ideas. Of course I hadn't cited him.

The other rejection was an unusually vague revise and resubmit, so I guess not really a rejection. But since it gave no real instructions on how to revise, I was left wondering whether the reviewer did, indeed feel that I simply hadn't kissed enough butt to get into this top journal on my first try. Both articles were later accepted without reservation at other good journals in the field.

To me the lesson is that strategic citations might work for you, but you don't have to include them in order to publish.

[%sig%]
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science expat
Guest
« Reply #7 on: November 18, 2005, 9:56:39 AM »

I can barely understand the topic of this thread.

We cite papers that include relevant research. Sometimes you get a reviewer who points out that on page 3, paragraph 2 you should have also cited Vain et al. (2000) which you then consider adding in the revision. What's the problem?
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anon
Guest
« Reply #8 on: November 18, 2005, 10:06:42 AM »

The problem is having to cite people's work when it really is not important to the subject of your prospective article,etc., in order to get it past the peer reviewer (that someone or his minion) and get it published.  Again, it happens all of the time in languages and lits.
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to s
Guest
« Reply #9 on: November 18, 2005, 10:17:05 AM »

I have heard of this tactic as an underhand way of raising the citation index or impact factor of a journal. Seems a bit dodgy to me.
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Waxwing
Guest
« Reply #10 on: November 18, 2005, 10:40:53 AM »

Like Science ex-pat, I too can barely follow this thread, and it may be that others know something I don't about this.  

Nevertheless, speaking as a modestly successful senior faculty member in a languages/literature department at an R1 school, I have never heard of such a thing.

Furthermore, from my understanding of how things work at journals, and presses, at least in my field, I can't see how that would be an effective strategy, even if you felt it was ethical.  

I would advise ngs to focus his/her anxiety more profitably.

WW
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anon3
Guest
« Reply #11 on: November 18, 2005, 10:50:54 AM »

Some people think like that in my discipline, too. I do not think it is right to go out of your way to cite people in the editorial board or the editor, BUT, if these individuals have done major work in the area and you miss it, it is both a scientific and an interpersonal faus pax. Bottom line, cite them if you can, but do not go seriously out of your way to do that.
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science expat
Guest
« Reply #12 on: November 18, 2005, 11:08:59 AM »

I am an Associate Editor (AE) for a major journal in my field. Last week I recommended that a manuscript that cited my work be rejected (because it was crap) and that another manuscript that didn't cite my work be accepted (because it was very good).

So, based on this sample, would you conclude that not citing the AE's work is the recipe for success?
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science expat
Guest
« Reply #13 on: November 18, 2005, 11:10:25 AM »

Waxwing, I'm sure you realized that the previous rhetorical question was not addressed to you...
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psychologist
Guest
« Reply #14 on: November 18, 2005, 11:20:16 AM »

I was advised by my famous advisor to try to find a way to cite some members of the editorial board in my research. He said not to make up a connection if there was none, but do my best to find connections and integrate those in, especially in the broad framing sections of the papers.

So, definitely happens.
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