2009 Janz Abstract

The practice of editorial "self-referencing" – journal editors requiring that authors include in their papers a specific number of citations from the journal in which they seek to publish – has recently garnered significant interest within the IS academic community. A recent survey of AISWorld suggests that the vast majority of respondents find this practice inappropriate and unethical. Rather than dismissing this behavior as patently unethical, this paper seeks to better understand the possible motivations for this editorial behavior. The notion of the ethical dilemma is introduced, as well as a framework to assist in analyzing them. Ultimately, the analysis suggests that while editors may feel they have worthwhile reasons for requiring self-references, the potential long term risks to the journal, the academy, and the body of knowledge outweigh those reasons.