Impact Factors and Publishing Research

We all know, at least in the abstract, that citation impact factors have become important to journals, as well as to authors. I suppose, therefore, that I should not have been surprised (though I was) when an associate editor asked me to modify one of my manuscripts by adding citations to papers in his journal--apparently only because they were in his journal. I was puzzled by this request, because no papers from his journal had provided intellectual or technical foundations for our work.

I trust I am not mistaken in concluding that the associate editor made the request simply to improve the journal's impact factor. Because authors must often curry the favor of their editor to assure publication, one might reasonably detect in this editor's request a whiff of extortion. Nonetheless, I can imagine that consistent use of such requests by an enterprising editorial board...

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