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Manipulation of explicit reputation in innovation and knowledge exchange communities: The example of referencing in science

Michael A. Zaggl

Research Policy, 2017, vol. 46, issue 5, 970-983

Abstract: This paper investigates the manipulation of reputation in the context of innovation and knowledge exchange communities. Reputation is crucial for overcoming the free-riding problem and enables community members to be rewarded because their contributions to the common good can be measured. However, the concept of reputation can include the notion of manipulation, which we define as the attempt to change one's reputation without contributing to the community. To investigate the topic of reputation manipulation, we build on the concept of reputation-based reward systems and extend it by distinguishing between implicit reputation, which is uncodified, and explicit reputation, which is codified and centrally counted. We argue that the possibilities for manipulation differ between these two distinctions. We investigate reputation manipulation empirically in the context of science, which is built on an explicit reputation-based reward system, and we use the received citations as an indicator for reputation. We distinguish two forms of manipulation—unjustified self-citing and unjustified reciprocal citing—and find evidence of both within a bibliometric dataset. This paper contributes to the design of knowledge exchange communities by highlighting the opportunities and challenges arising from explicit reputation-based reward systems, specifically the opportunities for manipulation. It also contributes to the work on misconduct in science.

Keywords: Communities; Explicit; Manipulation; Reputation; Reputation-based reward systems; Reciprocity (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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