Feb 16, 2012

How a nonexistent publication can have 20 citations

Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor

My name is Czesław Stępniak. I have been a member of the IMS for over 20 years. I have written more than 50 articles to 31 mathematics and statistics journals. I would like to share some of my experience in the use Elsevier’s leading citation database Scopus.

Recently, by browsing the database, I found my name in only 14 documents. To my surprise my last work (J. Statist. Plann. Inference, 141, 2489–2493) in this database is assigned to “Steogonekpniak” and another one (Metrika, 36, 291–298), which has 20 citations, is assigned to “Stepolhkepniak.” Of course none of these works can be reached by the usual route through “author search” because neither Stepolhkepniak and Steogonekpniak exist as authors. What is more, Scopus has deleted all documents related to my previous employment (covering more than 25 years).

In my opinion the matter is serious because this database is the main information source for all authors and reviewers, who would be firmly convinced that information contained therein is accurate. In this way all errors are repeatedly reproduced in the published articles. I encourage other IMS members to discover new secrets of the citation database Scopus.

I suspect that my experience is only the tip of the iceberg.

Czesław Stępniak
University of Rzeszów, Poland

Editor’s note: Dr. Stępniak has, of course, reported his concerns to Scopus. Get in touch if you have had similar experiences: leave a comment below, or email bulletin@imstat.org

Letters on any issue of interest to IMS members are welcome.

The Editor’s decision is final; we may edit your letter before publication; publication does not necessarily imply endorsement of the opinions expressed therein, and the IMS Bulletin and its publisher do not accept responsibility for them.


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