Quantitative and qualitative analysis of editor behavior through maybe coercive citations

How much is the h-index of an editor of a well-ranked journal improved due to citations which occur after his/her appointment? Scientific recognition within academia is widely measured nowadays by the number of citations or h-index. Our dataset is based on a sample of four editors from a well-ranked journal (impact factor, IF, greater than 2). The target group consists of two editors who seem to benefit by their position through an increased citation number (and subsequently h-index) within the journal. The total amount of citations for the target group is greater than 600. The control group is formed by another set of two editors from the same journal whose relations between their positions and their citation records remain neutral. The total amount of citations for the control group is more than 1200. The timespan for which the citations’ pattern has been studied is 1975–2015. Previous coercive citations for a journal’s benefit (an increase of its IF) has been indicated. To the best of our knowledge, this is a pioneering work on coercive citations for personal (editors’) benefit. Editorial teams should be aware about this type of potentially unethical behavior and act accordingly.