In my lab, a few of us submitted our papers independently to a conference last week. We all had referenced each other's work in our papers. I have a concern if this is a bad practice in academia. It also looks like a bad habit that has festered in our lab: the last two PhDs who passed out from our lab have a total of 15 citations for their papers, of which 13 are from within our community itself.
Is this practice of repeatedly citing from one's own micro-community acceptable? It seems unavoidable, as we are all working together, familiarizing with each other's work and trying to build on them.