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Brazilian Journals' Self-Citation Cartel Smashed 68

ananyo writes "Thomson Reuters has uncovered a Brazilian self-citation cartel in which editors of journals cited each other to boost their impact factors. The cartel grew out of frustration with the system for evaluating graduate programs, which places too much emphasis on publishing in 'top tier' journals, one of the editors claims. As emerging Brazilian journals are in the lowest ranks, few graduates want to publish in them. This vicious cycle, in his view, prevents local journals improving. Both the Brazilian education ministry and Thomson Reuters have censured the journals. The ministry says articles from the journals published in 2012-12 will not count in any future assessment, and Thomson Reuters has suspended their impact factors."
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Brazilian Journals' Self-Citation Cartel Smashed

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  • Not surprising (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 28, 2013 @09:07AM (#44695599)

    Science publishing is totally broken. Brazilians were just emulating the behavior of western Europe, China, and North America. The only difference is that we have practised this stupid game for much longer and we are better at not getting caught.

  • by sinij ( 911942 ) on Wednesday August 28, 2013 @09:15AM (#44695665)
    Back when I worked in science in my field it took about 2mil to conduct a study, with another 10 mil in infrastructure costs. I am sure it costs even more now. This is very much outside third-world budget range. Does all this tech gadgetry help design better studies? Absolutely, but you don't have to have latest and greatest to do interesting work. Unfortunately Tier 1 journals don't see it this way, if you don't have X $toy$ in your lab, you might as well not submit manuscripts. Also if you are the first to get new expensive tech you can publish low hanging fruit (validation plus comparison to old tech) and all but guarantee no-effort papers. So arm race to spend on new gadgetry is always there.
  • Re:Isn't it ironic (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 28, 2013 @09:36AM (#44695825)

    You're not wrong, and it is not just impact factor metrics and the like either. I know of at least one university in Brazil which rates prospective employees publishing history uses a scoring system to which heavily encourages both publishing in Brazilian journals, and salami slicing - that is, breaking up a piece of work into lots of smaller less significant papers to boost your stats, rather than putting out a single good quality paper.

"No, no, I don't mind being called the smartest man in the world. I just wish it wasn't this one." -- Adrian Veidt/Ozymandias, WATCHMEN