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The effects of citation-based research evaluation schemes on self-citation behavior

Giovanni Abramo, Ciriaco Andrea D'Angelo and Leonardo Grilli ()

Journal of Informetrics, 2021, vol. 15, issue 4

Abstract: We investigate the changes in the self-citation behavior of Italian professors following the introduction of a citation-based incentive scheme, for national accreditation to academic appointments. Previous contributions on self-citation behavior have either focused on small samples or relied on simple models, not controlling for enough confounding factors. The present work adopts a complex statistics model implemented on bibliometric individual data for over 15,000 Italian professors. Controlling for a number of covariates (number of citable papers published by the author; presence of international authors; number of co-authors; degree of the professor's specialization), the average increase in the number of self-citations per paper following introduction of the national scientific accreditation (ASN) is of 9.5%. The increase is common to all disciplines and academic ranks, albeit with diverse magnitude. Moreover, the increase is sensitive to the relative incentive, depending on the status of the scholar with respect to the ASN. A further analysis shows that there is much heterogeneity in the individual patterns of self-citing behavior, albeit with very few outliers.

Keywords: Incentive scheme; Strategic behavior; Citation gaming; Bibliometrics; Academic appointments; Italy (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:eee:infome:v:15:y:2021:i:4:s1751157721000754

DOI: 10.1016/j.joi.2021.101204

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