Scholar Accused of Bogus Boost to Google Rating

January 21, 2015

Did a Romanian scholar publish bogus articles in questionable journals just to be able to self-cite and raise his Google Scholar rating? That’s what Jeffrey Beall, associate professor and librarian at the University of Colorado at Denver, alleges on his predatory publisher watchdog blog, Scholarly Open Access. Beall says that Ştefan Vlăduţescu, associate professor of communication and journalism at the University of Craiova in Romania, has been cited 1,709 times on Google Scholar but that many of the citations are questionable. Most appear in dozens of articles published in three open-access journals with Swiss street addresses but Polish URLs. Beall says each article cites the scholar’s work 10-12 times, and that Vlăduţescu “buries the self-citations in long bibliographies at the ends of the articles, references that don't completely match the in-text citations in the papers.”

For example, Beall says, one of Vlăduţescu’s articles in the International Letters of Social and Humanistic Sciences, called “Persuasion and the hygiene of communication," has five pages of text but 72 references listed -- and just 19 in-text citations. Vlăduţescu is listed as the author of 11 of the 72 works cited.

Vlăduţescu did not immediately respond to an email request for comment, nor did Tomasz Borowski, the editor of all three journals in which most of the citations appear: Social and Humanistic Sciences; International Letters of Chemistry, Physics and Astronomy; and International Letters of Natural Sciences. All are published by Sci Press Ltd.

Beall said via email: “This means that Google Scholar cannot be trusted as a source for scholarly metrics. Using predatory publishers, researchers can easily, dishonestly, and quickly increase the metrics that Google Scholars records for them.”

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