A senior psychology professor has strongly denied any wrongdoing after a blog highlighted what it claimed was his high self-citation rate in papers published in journals he edited.
Johnny Matson, a professor at Louisiana State University and an expert in autism, was the founding editor in chief of the Elsevier journals Research in Developmental Disabilities (RIDD) and Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders (RASD).
Earlier this month the journals came to the attention of Dorothy Bishop, professor of developmental neuropsychology at the University of Oxford. Bishop learned that she was on the editorial board of RASD, although she said that she had no recollection of agreeing to such a position. According to Matson, Bishop did give her permission to be added to the board.
Bishop then looked into the journals, setting out her resulting claims in a blog posting, including that Matson is an author on more than 10 percent of the papers published in RASD since the journal was established in 2007. At around that time his citation count also began to shoot up (according to the Scopus database, he has published 117 papers in RASD and 133 in RIDD, founded in 1987).
Bishop also claims that, according to Thomson Reuters’ Web of Science, just over half of Matson’s citations are self-citations -- much higher than the rates of other autism experts she looked at.
In a comment on the blog post, Michael Osuch, publishing director for neuroscience and psychology journals at Elsevier, insisted that under Matson’s editorship all papers in both journals were reviewed, and that his own were handled by one of the journals’ associate editors. He added that Matson and all associate editors stepped down at the end of 2014