Clarivate withholds Impact Factors for 17 journals amid rising concerns of citation manipulation

Clarivate withholds Impact Factors for 17 journals amid rising concerns of citation manipulation

Biswabrata Goswami

KRISHNAGAR, 29 JUNE: Clarivate, the organisation responsible for calculating Journal Impact Factors (JIFs), has withheld this year’s metrics for 17 journals due to suspected citation manipulation. This marks a significant increase from the previous year when only four journals were excluded.

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The surge in exclusions can be attributed to Clarivate’s expansion in their 2024 Journal Citation Reports, which now include an additional 7,200 journals from the Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI) and the Arts and Humanities Citation Index (AHCI). This broader inclusion has inevitably led to a higher number of impact factor suppressions.

Clarivate has a history of suppressing journals for citation irregularities. In 2020, the organization penalized 33 journals for self-citation, while in 2021, they suppressed 10, and only three in the following year. A spokesperson from Clarivate explained that journals are excluded due to “anomalous citation behavior,” which includes excessive self-citations and citation stacking between journals. However, they clarified that this does not imply any wrongdoing by the journals.

“Anomalous citation behavior” refers to patterns that suggest manipulative practices to artificially inflate a journal’s impact factor. Such practices can distort the true influence and quality of a journal. Clarivate’s stringent measures aim to maintain the integrity and reliability of JIFs, which are widely used to gauge journal quality and evaluate researchers’ work.

The controversy surrounding JIFs continues to grow, especially as many institutions rely on them for key decisions regarding academic promotions and funding allocations. Losing an impact factor can have significant repercussions for both authors and journals, potentially leading to decreased submissions and a tarnished reputation. Scholars and professors express concern that the loss of a journal’s impact factor could negatively impact their Academic Performance Index (API) scores, which are crucial for their career advancements.

Despite ongoing controversy surrounding the validity and impact of Journal Impact Factors, many institutions still use them to gauge journal quality and evaluate researchers’ work.

In India, the academic community is particularly concerned about the implications of these exclusions. Many scholars and professors fear losing their Academic Performance Indicators (API) score in academic activities, as prescribed by the University Grants Commission (UGC). This score is critical for academic promotions and evaluations, making the loss of an impact factor a substantial setback for researchers and institutions alike.

Clarivate’s actions highlight the ongoing challenges in ensuring the accuracy and fairness of these influential rankings. The organization emphasizes that their decision to withhold JIFs is part of their commitment to uphold the highest standards in scholarly publishing.

As the academic community grapples with these developments, it is clear that the debate over the value and impact of JIFs is far from settled. Clarivate’s efforts to address citation manipulation are a step towards more transparent and trustworthy metrics, but they also underscore the complexities and pressures inherent in academic publishing.

For now, the affected journals and their contributors must navigate the challenges posed by the absence of an impact factor, while the broader academic community watches closely for further developments in this ongoing saga.

Tags: #Clarivate #CitationManupulation #JournalImpactFactors #JIF #ESCI

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