The journal Bone Research has been put on notice over a problematic pattern of citations after its impact factor increased 10-fold in three years.
The journal, published by Springer Nature in partnership with the International Chinese Musculoskeletal Research Society, Sichuan University, and the West China School of Stomatology has been given a warning by Clarivate Analytics, which publishes impact factors for thousands of scientific journals in its annual Journal Citation Reports (JCR).
Bone Research journal received “a particular concentration of citations,” according to a JCR editorial expression of concern that also covered five other journals.
“The possibility of manipulation of citation metrics is a serious matter, and Clarivate Analytics remains the only bibliometrics provider to monitor, survey and curate our data to identify anomalies that lead to distorted rankings,” the JCR statement says.
“We have initiated a process of investigation of the journals, along with affiliated publications. When we have completed a thorough review, we will take any appropriate action; this may result in one or more journals being removed from the JCR, with a possible further action of removal from indexing in Web of Science.
According to science journal integrity watchdog blog Retraction Watch, the anomalies in the citation metrics might be due to the journal being relatively new (it started publishing in 2013) and publishing only a limited number of articles (30 a year). The blog notes that Bone Research‘s impact factor increased from 1.31 in 2014 to 12.354 in 2017.
According to its website, Bone Research has published more than 10 articles by Australian-based authors on topics including osteoporosis, RA an osteoarthritis.