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Citation gamesmanship: testing for evidence of ego bias in peer review


  • Cassidy R. Sugimoto

    (Indiana University)

  • Blaise Cronin

    (Indiana University)


This study tests for evidence of gaming and attention mongering—here termed ego bias—in the scholarly peer review process. We explore the extent to which authors cite the target journal and its editor and also the relationship between targeted references and editorial decisions. We examine referee reports for the presence and type of references and determine the extent to which reviewers cite their own work in their reports. Our results are based on a sample of 442 manuscripts and 927 referee reports submitted to the Journal of the American Society of Information Science and Technology. We find little evidence that editors, authors or reviewers use the peer review process as an opportunity to play citation games.

Suggested Citation

  • Cassidy R. Sugimoto & Blaise Cronin, 2013. "Citation gamesmanship: testing for evidence of ego bias in peer review," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 95(3), pages 851-862, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:scient:v:95:y:2013:i:3:d:10.1007_s11192-012-0845-z
    DOI: 10.1007/s11192-012-0845-z

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Lutz Bornmann & Hans-Dieter Daniel, 2009. "Reviewer and editor biases in journal peer review: an investigation of manuscript refereeing at Angewandte Chemie International Edition," Research Evaluation, Oxford University Press, vol. 18(4), pages 262-272, October.
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    3. Lutz Bornmann & Markus Wolf & Hans-Dieter Daniel, 2012. "Closed versus open reviewing of journal manuscripts: how far do comments differ in language use?," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 91(3), pages 843-856, June.
    4. Ángel Borrego & Maite Barrios & Anna Villarroya & Candela Ollé, 2010. "Scientific output and impact of postdoctoral scientists: a gender perspective," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 83(1), pages 93-101, April.
    5. Tove Faber Frandsen & Jeppe Nicolaisen, 2011. "Praise the bridge that carries you over: Testing the flattery citation hypothesis," Journal of the Association for Information Science & Technology, Association for Information Science & Technology, vol. 62(5), pages 807-818, May.
    6. Lutz Bornmann & Christophe Weymuth & Hans-Dieter Daniel, 2010. "A content analysis of referees’ comments: how do comments on manuscripts rejected by a high-impact journal and later published in either a low- or high-impact journal differ?," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 83(2), pages 493-506, May.
    7. Jerome K. Vanclay, 2009. "Bias in the journal impact factor," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 78(1), pages 3-12, January.
    8. Laband, David N & Piette, Michael J, 1994. "Favoritism versus Search for Good Papers: Empirical Evidence Regarding the Behavior of Journal Editors," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(1), pages 194-203, February.
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    2. Sergio Copiello, 2018. "On the money value of peer review," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 115(1), pages 613-620, April.
    3. Kevin J. Boudreau & Eva C. Guinan & Karim R. Lakhani & Christoph Riedl, 2016. "Looking Across and Looking Beyond the Knowledge Frontier: Intellectual Distance, Novelty, and Resource Allocation in Science," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 62(10), pages 2765-2783, October.

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