Citation bias, diversity, and ethics

Account Res. 2022 Aug 18;1-15. doi: 10.1080/08989621.2022.2111257. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

How often a researcher is cited usually plays a decisive role in that person's career advancement, because academic institutions often use citation metrics, either explicitly or implicitly, to estimate research impact and productivity. Research has shown, however, that citation patterns and practices are affected by various biases, including the prestige of the authors being cited and their gender, race, and nationality, whether self-attested or perceived. Some commentators have proposed that researchers can address biases related to social identity or position by including a Citation Diversity Statement in a manuscript submitted for publication. A Citation Diversity Statement is a paragraph placed before the reference section of a manuscript in which the authors address the diversity and equitability of their references in terms of gender, race, ethnicity, or other factors and affirm a commitment to promoting equity and diversity in sources and references. The present commentary considers arguments in favor of Citation Diversity Statements, and some practical and ethical issues that these statements raise.

Keywords: Citation; bias; diversity; equity; ethics.