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Some cases are obvious, as when a majority of a research paper’s citations are to the author’s own work in a popular field of research.
I am certainly not qualified to address such heady questions, but regardless of cause, the issue of gender disparity in self-citations has career consequences.
In the age of Big Data, success breeds success, and popularity snowballs.
Scientific publications are the primary tool for this essential activity of science, and a primary reason for the existence of professional societies like SPIE.
New publications are placed in the context of the communal collection of knowledge through the use of citations, defined as a reference to a source of information or data.
Today, such citation counts and their metrification are used in hiring and promotion decisions, especially in academia, often as a substitute for thoughtful and informed judgment.
They also influence research funding strongly in some parts of the world.Are men encouraged to be more aggressive in pursuit of career success?Do women work on smaller teams with fewer publications and fewer opportunities for self-citations?Self-cites become a problem only when they are either spurious or biased.Since deciding that a specific citation is either spurious or biased requires a judgment based on the cited work, the paper in which the citation occurs, and the field within which the work resides, it is not an easy evaluation to make.Be careful what you measure, since a truism of the business world is ‘what gets measured gets managed.’ And measures that come with rewards often get gamed.When a person’s career or reputation depends on citation counts, the temptation to inflate those counts is never far away.One 2007 study reported in Scientometrics showed that it does, with each self-citation multiplying into three other citations to that author over a five-year period.Further, the penalties for excessive self-citation seem to be small or none.Still, I think most authors know when they are pushing into spurious or biased territory with their self-citations.So the best defense against abuse is self-regulation. A study commissioned by the Chronicle of Higher Education looked at the role of gender in self-citation rates.