I have recently submitted some work we did with one of our PhD students to one of ASME's Journals and the editor rejected the paper on the spot (without sending it for review) because the submitted paper did not cite any paper from their journal. The editor was arguing that we should include recent papers from their journal so that they could find a suitable reviewer.
I would argue that this is likely just an excuse for getting the journal's impact factor up and I have strong ethical concerns with this journal if that is their practice. The editor should not have such editing power and that should be at the discretion of the authors. If they need a list of reviewers, I am happy to provide that, as is common practice in other journals I have submitted papers to in the past.
I did oblige in the end and added a few references and I am currently waiting for the outcome (interestingly, none of the references (all published in 2022 except for one which is from 2019) we included in our paper did cite any work from the same journal, which makes this request even odder, i.e. it seems this is either a new policy they have or our work is being singled out). I was very surprised initially and did not want to publish in that journal anymore given these poor academic practices but did not do so as this would just mean more work for my PhD student to reformat and resubmit the paper to a different journal which would be unfair on him. If that would have been my own work, I would have made it very clear to the editor that I disagree with this practice and that I would not be interested in getting published in their journal.
I am just wondering if other researcher had similar experiences and what they would do (or have done) in this situation? There must be some ethical standard that this goes against (?!). Either way, my take away message is that it is unlikely for me to consider ASME again in the future for publishing my work unless they improve their standards.