Comparison of self-citation by peer reviewers in a journal with single-blind peer review versus a journal with open peer review

Alexander W. Levis, Albert F. G. Leentjens, James L. Levenson, Mark A. Lumley, Brett D. Thombs*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Web of Science)

Abstract

Objective: Some peer reviewers may inappropriately, or coercively request that authors include references to the reviewers' own work. The objective of this study was to evaluate whether, compared to reviews for a journal with single-blind peer review, reviews for a journal with open peer review included (1) fewer self-citations; (2) a lower proportion of self-citations without a rationale; and (3) a lower ratio of proportions of citations without a rationale in self-citations versus citations to others' work. Methods: Peer reviews for published manuscripts submitted in 2012 to a single-blind peer review journal, the Journal of Psychosomatic Research, were previously evaluated (Thombs et al., 2015). These were compared to publically available peer reviews of manuscripts published in 2012 in an open review journal, BMC Psychiatry. Two investigators independently extracted data for both journals. Results: There were no significant differences between journals in the proportion of all reviewer citations that were self-citations (journal of Psychosomatic Research: 71/225, 32%; BMC Psychiatry: 90/315,29%; p = .50), or in the proportion of self-citations without a rationale (journal of Psychosomatic Research: 15/71, 21%; BMC Psychiatry: 12/90, 13%; p = .21). There was no significant difference between journals in the proportion of self-citations versus citations to others' work without a rationale (p = 31). Conclusion: Blind and open peer review methodologies have distinct advantages and disadvantages. The present study found that, in reasonably similar journals that use single-blind and open review, there were no substantive differences in the pattern of peer reviewer self-citations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)561-565
JournalJournal of Psychosomatic Research
Volume79
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2015

Keywords

  • Peer review
  • Self-citation
  • Journalology
  • Publishing ethics
  • Open peer review
  • Blind peer review

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