(6 September 2017) In a recently published paper, Justin Flatt and his two co-authors proposed the creation of the Self-Citation Index, or s-index writes Richard Poynder in his Open and Shut blog. The purpose of the s-index would be to measure how often a scientist cites their own work. This is desirable the authors believe because current incentive systems tend to encourage researchers to cite their own works excessively.
In other words, since the number of citations a researcher’s works receive enhances his/her reputation there is a temptation to add superfluous self-citations to articles. This boosts the authors’ h-index – the author-level metric now widely used as a measure of researcher productivity.
Amongst other things, excessive self-citation gives those who engage in it an unfair advantage over more principled researchers, an advantage moreover that grows over time: a 2007 paper estimated that every self-citation increases the number of citations from others by about one after one year, and by about three after five years. This creates unjustified differences in researcher profiles.
Richard Poynder interviews Justin Flatt in his blog Open And Shut.