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, 23 (4), 230-44

Aberration of the Citation


Aberration of the Citation

Khaled Moustafa. Account Res.


Multiple inherent biases related to different citation practices (for e.g., self-citations, negative citations, wrong citations, multi-authorship-biased citations, honorary citations, circumstantial citations, discriminatory citations, selective and arbitrary citations, etc.) make citation-based bibliometrics strongly flawed and defective measures. A paper can be highly cited for a while (for e.g., under circumstantial or transitional knowledge), but years later it may appear that its findings, paradigms, or theories were untrue or invalid anymore. By contrast, a paper may remain shelved or overlooked for years or decades, but new studies or discoveries may actualize its subject at any moment. As citation-based metrics are transformed into "commercial activities," the "citation credit" should be considered on a commercial basis too, in the sense that "citation credit" should be shared out as a "citation dividend" by shareholders (coauthors) averagely or proportionally to their contributions but not fully appropriated by each of them. At equal numbers of citations, the greater number of authors, the lower "citation credit" should be and vice versa. Overlooking the presence of distorted and subjective citation practices makes many people and administrators "obsessed" with the number of citations to such an extent to run after "highly cited" authors and to create specialized citation databases for commercial purposes. Citation-based bibliometrics, however, are unreliable and unscientific measures; citation counts do not mean that a more cited work is of a higher quality or accuracy than a less cited work because citations do not measure the quality or accuracy. Citations do not mean that a highly cited author or journal is more commendable than a less cited author or journal. Citations are not more than countable numbers: no more, no less.

Keywords: Citation; citation analysis; citation bias; citation index; honorary authorship; impact factor; journal impact factor; publication bias.

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