More than 70% of the citations in one journal were to other papers in that journal. Another published a single paper that cited nearly 200 other articles in the journal.

Now, Clarivate, the company behind the Impact Factor, is taking steps to fight such behavior, suppressing 33 journals from their indexing service and subjecting 15 more to expressions of concern — all for apparent self-citation that boosted the journals' rankings.

The list includes some of publishing's biggest players: Nine journals published by Elsevier, seven by Springer Nature, six by Taylor & Francis, and five by Wiley.

Five of the suppressed or flagged journals are in cardiology, including JACC: Cardiovascular Imaging, which has an Impact Factor above 10, ranking it in the top 10 journals in the field. Three other cardiology journals given an expression of concern by Clarivate have Impact Factors above 5.

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