A journal’s impact factor (IF) may be boosted by increasing self-citations. We aimed to determine the self-citation rate (SCR) of pediatric journals registered in the Journal Citations Report (JCR), to evaluate the impact of SCR upon the IF and to determine the effect of the SCR of a journal on its IF. We found 117 journals categorized as pediatric journals by the JCR (as of 2013). The median and range of SCR, IF and corrected IF (IF without self-citations) were 9 % (0–30 %), 1.54 (0–6.35) and 1.37 (0–5.87) respectively. No differences were found between general and subspecialty journals in terms of SCR, IF or corrected IF. Spearman’s ranked correlation showed that IF was significantly and inversely correlated with SCR (r = −0.28, P = 0.002; R2 = 0.08). There was a significant difference between IF and corrected IF among all journals (1.74 ± 1.04 vs 1.59 ± 0.98, P < 0.001). Self-citation is relatively rare in pediatric journals. Importantly and unlike other fields of medicine, self-citation was found to be more prevalent in journals with a lower IF and also with lower corrected IF.
- Impact factor
- Self-citation rate