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Self-citations, a trend prevalent across subject disciplines at the global level: an overview

Ramesh Pandita (Central library, Baba Ghulam Shah Badshah University, Jammu, India)
Shivendra Singh (Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, Faridkot, Punjab, India)

Collection Building

ISSN: 0160-4953

Article publication date: 3 July 2017




The present study aims to determine the prevailing trend of self-citations across 27 major subject disciplines at global level. The study also examines the aspects like percentage of self-citations in each individual subject discipline and the average number of self-citations per publication across different subject disciplines. The study also investigates self-citation percentage of research articles published from the 20 leading research countries of the world and across the continents.


The study is supported by empirical findings undertaken on secondary data retrieved from SCImago Journal and Country Ranking, which is entirely based on the SCOPUS data source (SCImago, 2014).


In all, 76,634,557 citations were received by as many as 14,946,975 research articles published from 2008-2012 at an average of 5.12 citations per article. Of the total citations received, 26,404,609 (34.45 per cent) were self-citations, which means that of the total citations received by each research article, 1.76 are self-citations. Compared to subject disciplines falling under social and humanistic sciences, pure and applied sciences have shown a greater trend of self-citation. On average, 4.18 self-citations were observed in each research article published in multidisciplinary subject disciplines. Of the total citations received by research articles published in the discipline of Psychology, 43.69 per cent are self-citations, the highest among all the subject disciplines under study. Of the total self-citations received by all the subject disciplines under study, 18.43 per cent were received alone in medicine, highest among all, whereas Social and Humanistic sciences received less than 1.00 per cent self-citations, the lowest among all the subject disciplines.


This study is original and first of its kind covering each individual subject discipline having global scope.



Pandita, R. and Singh, S. (2017), "Self-citations, a trend prevalent across subject disciplines at the global level: an overview", Collection Building, Vol. 36 No. 3, pp. 115-126.



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Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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