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Scientometrics. 2011 Apr;87(1):85-98. Epub 2010 Nov 11.

Detecting h-index manipulation through self-citation analysis.


The h-index has received an enormous attention for being an indicator that measures the quality of researchers and organizations. We investigate to what degree authors can inflate their h-index through strategic self-citations with the help of a simulation. We extended Burrell's publication model with a procedure for placing self-citations, following three different strategies: random self-citation, recent self-citations and h-manipulating self-citations. The results show that authors can considerably inflate their h-index through self-citations. We propose the q-index as an indicator for how strategically an author has placed self-citations, and which serves as a tool to detect possible manipulation of the h-index. The results also show that the best strategy for an high h-index is publishing papers that are highly cited by others. The productivity has also a positive effect on the h-index.

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