Author self-citation in the otolaryngology literature

Anthony M. Tolisano*, Sungjin A. Song, Benjamin B. Cable

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Objective To determine the prevalence of author self-citation in the field of otolaryngology. Study Design and Setting A retrospective review of bibliographic references in 5 otolaryngology journals. Subjects and Methods Five high-impact otolaryngology journals were reviewed over a 3-month period between January and March 2014 to identify the pattern of author self-citations. Data included study type, otolaryngology topic, authorship, total citations, author self-citations, and country of origin. Results Nearly two-thirds of articles contained at least 1 self-citation, with an average of 2.6 self-citations per article. Self-citations represented nearly 10% of total citations. Articles with at least 1 self-citation had more authors (5.8 vs 4.9, P <.01) and more citations (30.4 vs 22.2, P <.01) per article than did those without self-citations. There was no difference in self-citation practices between articles originating within the United States and abroad (P =.65). Last authors were the most frequent self-citers and were more likely than lead authors to cite themselves (P <.01). Original reports contained the highest percentage of self-citations per article as compared with reviews and case reports (P <.01). Conclusion Author self-citation in the otolaryngology literature is common and compares similarly to other medical specialties previously studied. Self-citation should not be considered inappropriate, as it is often done to expand on earlier research. Nevertheless, editors, researchers, and readers should be aware of this increasingly recognized phenomenon and its associated potential implications to the process of scientific inquiry.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)282-286
Number of pages5
JournalOtolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery (United States)
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • citation analysis
  • h-index
  • impact factor


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