How can I fight against a "citation cartel" (still active)? They are manipulating citations (mostly through "coercive citation") from at least two journals. Two journal are used as "platforms" and two journals are receiving biased citations.

Clearly, they are trying to boost one journal and also boost "selected" papers from researchers close to the editors of one the journals. Awful!

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    Just some friendly advice - For fools like me who don't know what these terms mean, your question is simply inaccessible. Maybe, you can fix this, (please). :)
    – 299792458
    Commented Nov 4, 2015 at 12:57
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    "Coercive citation" is the practice of boosting a journal's Journal Impact Factor by insisting that authors (in that journal or others) cite that journal as a condition of publication. It's sleazy and unethical. A "citation cartel" is a number of authors and editors with a wink-wink-nudge-nudge agreement to cite a particular journal whenever humanly possible. Also sleazy and unethical.
    – D.Salo
    Commented Nov 4, 2015 at 13:06
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    This question is so vague that it reads a bit like a Rorschach test, but if you insist, my thoughts are: Impact Factor is already a useless metric that no serious person should care about (before you come out at me with pitchforks, note that I am in math, an entire discipline that gets by fine without relying on Impact Factor). Ergo, anyone foolish enough to use it deserves to be defrauded by these idiots, and any author willing to publish with such scumbags has zero credibility and deserves to be taken for a ride. So, I see this as a non-issue.
    – Dan Romik
    Commented Nov 4, 2015 at 13:30
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    @DanRomik It's not so simple, I'm afraid. A citation cartel's actions are not necessarily obvious to other authors submitting to a journal, and coercive citation often happens late in the publication process, e.g., "We just need one more change before your accepted article can be published..."
    – jakebeal
    Commented Nov 4, 2015 at 13:53
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    @jakebeal I stand by my judgment. No serious, ethical researcher will agree to go along with such coercion. And as for non-serious, unethical researchers, let them publish their pretend research in their pretend journals--I do not see why this is worth my time and energy to worry about. This is just another part of the large shady underbelly of academia, along with predatory journals, bogus conferences, pay-to-publish and other such scams, all of which will continue to exist as long as there are countries and institutions that use questionable metrics to pretend that they do academic research.
    – Dan Romik
    Commented Nov 4, 2015 at 17:36

1 Answer 1


Are there uninvolved editors you can report it to? Do you have enough evidence to contact Retraction Watch, which might take an interest? If the journal(s) in question belong to a scholarly society, perhaps a report to the board would suffice?

The ten-ton anvil would be contacting Thomson Reuters to ask for an investigation -- they'll boot journals they catch manipulating Journal Impact Factor out of the Impact Factor rankings altogether -- but I am not entirely sure how to accomplish this feat.

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