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Switzerland classifies “unjustified” self-citation or claiming authorship despite contributing little as grounds for sanctions.

Academics could soon be officially sanctioned in Switzerland for “unjustified” self-citation or claiming authorship despite contributing little to a project under a new code of conduct that could set a global trend. Switzerland’s new rules are seen as groundbreaking as they drastically expand the definition of scientific misconduct to include dubious behavior that has attracted increasing scrutiny but up to now has rarely been covered by official rules.

“To my knowledge, this is the first time that a code of conduct is expanded by a prestigious academic organization to include several additional dimensions of how scientific work is done, credited, recognized, cited and appropriated,” said John Ioannidis, an expert on the process of research at Stanford University who has raised the alert over extreme self-citation by scientists.

Academic misconduct has traditionally been defined as fabrication and falsification — making up or manipulating data — plus plagiarism. The National Science Foundation still defines misconduct chiefly in these terms, for example.

But there have been growing calls in recent years to widen this definition, as other forms of shady behavior come to light, including “citation farms,” where authors rack up citations from their own or co-authors’ papers.

Authorship abuse, where supervisors or journal editors use […]

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