The following is a forthcoming editorial of IJPDLM and a message from the editors to the research community:
A recent article in the Policy Forum of Science (Wilhite and Fong, 2012, p.542) suggests that coercive citation is “uncomfortably common and appears to be practiced opportunistically” in academic publishing. The authors describe coercive citation as “requests that (i) give no indication that the manuscript was lacking in attribution; (ii) make no suggestion as to specific articles, authors, or a body of work requiring review; and (iii) only guide authors to add citations from the editor’s journal.” The article also contends that coercive citation practices are “more prevalent in most business disciplines,” that journals published by commercial, for-profit companies show significantly greater use of coercive tactics, and that “the strategic nature of coercion continues to put pressure on editors to coerce.”
As editors and the publisher of the oldest journal in the field of supply chain management and business logistics strategy, we are taking a stand to discourage and hopefully eliminate coercive citation practices in our field. The good news is that none of the journals in our sub-discipline are listed in the extensive list of offender journals published in the Science article. The potential bad news is that the long-awaited arrival of impact factors for the leading supply chain management and business logistics journals provides incentive for coercive citation practices to gain currency. Our position at IJPDLM is that we are delighted to have a highly competitive impact factor (2.617 for 2011) that appears to be encouraging authors from all over the globe to submit their best work to our journal. In the first two months of 2012, we have received 50 regular submissions (not including special issues) putting us on track to receive 300 regular submissions in 2012, and suggesting that our impact factor is providing ample incentive for international authors who previously may not have considered IJPDLM as an outlet.
We have therefore decided to join the group of journal editors who are adopting the Ethical Practices of Journal Editors (EPJE): Voluntary Code of Conduct. The EPJE (published in its entirety below) is the product of discussions among a group of editors who believe that the need to affirm the integrity of our science requires a strong, public stance regarding the ethicality of business journals and more specifically on the publication processes of refereed academic journals in business disciplines. The EPJE is a non-binding voluntary process designed to create implicit and explicit social norms that will be revisited as needs evolve. The current code 1.0 (see below) permits journal editors to be included in an online “affirmation” list by contacting Dr. Steven G. Rogelberg, Editor, Journal of Business and Psychology. Alex Ellinger and Glenn Richey have already joined the editors of Academy of Management Journal, Journal of Applied Psychology, Personnel Psychology, Journal of Business and Psychology and Journal of Management as early adopters of EPJE: Voluntary Code of Conduct and we encourage editors of the other journals in our field to join us. We believe that embracing EPJE: Voluntary Code of Conduct will leave our many global contributors secure in the knowledge that citation coercion is not part of getting published in the field of strategic supply chain management and business logistics.
Wilhite, A.W. and Fong, E.A. (2012), “Coercive citation in academic publishing”, Science, Vol. 335 (3 February) http://www.sciencemag.org
Ethical Practices of Journal Editors (EPJE):
Voluntary Code of Conduct 1.0
I [name], currently serving in the role as [editor-in-chief/associate editor] of [journal], although also bound by the ethical standards already in place at my journal, its sponsoring professional association, and/or my disciplinary field in general, affirm, as an individual editor and scholar (not on behalf of my journal or sponsoring association) the importance of the following practices:
- Refraining from coercive citation practices. Namely, in both public submission guidelines, and well as within the peer review process, authors will be encouraged to omit citations that are irrelevant to a paper’s main thesis. Specifically, I will refrain from encouraging authors to cite my journal, or those of my colleagues, unless the papers suggested are pertinent to specific issues raised within the context of the review. I acknowledge that any blanket request to cite a particular journal, as well as the suggestion of citations without a clear explanation of how the additions address a specific gap in the paper, is coercive and unethical.
- Encouraging my journal, its staff, and its sponsors and publishers to keep marketing strategies separate from the peer review process (if applicable). This could include but is not limited to using author or reviewer databases for mass marketing purposes; allowing publishers to use the peer review systems to market online access or subscription information; and allowing publishers’ financial motives to drive strategy that has a non-science-based bearing on the peer review process.
- In recognizing the global dialog regarding data fraud, research integrity, and implicit pressures on authors to manipulate findings, hide results, etc., I will, whenever possible and appropriate given the scope of my journal, to encourage: a) data transparency including identifying potential conflicts of interest, b) citing of archival data sources properly, and for one-off data collections, describing the full set of variables and other publications emerging from the data sample under review; c) to consider publishing theoretically/methodologically-relevant null results; d) to support substantive and important replication efforts; e) and to discourage opportunistic and atheoretical post-hoc hypothesizing.
- Communicating these and other relevant ethical standards to my associate editors and board members, and to conveying these principles within appropriate public forums (e.g., editors’ panels at professional conferences). Authors who feel that these practices have been violated should be encouraged to bring their questions, with reference to this Code, to the attention of the Editor whose actions (or whose publisher’s/sponsor’s actions) may be in question.
- I approve of this Code and its signatories being posted on a public Internet site.