Q: What is the average amount of self-citation in medical literature?

Detailed Question -

Is there any norm or acceptable ratio? Is there any link or reference for this?

1 Answer to this question

Would you need this for a study that you are doing or as a guideline for the papers you work on?

If it’s a study, this would seem to be for a literature review or a systematic review. In that case, the best way to find out would be through a literature search. :-) For now, we have sourced this article that states that “approximately 1 in 15 citations in high-profile general medicine journals are author self-citations.”

If it’s a guideline for when working on your own papers, it’s best to avoid self-citation or keep it to the minimum. Excessive self-citation is viewed as an effort by the author to increase references to their work to force up their citation metrics. It’s always better to cite more of other researchers’ work, also because it shows that you’ve tried to make your study more broad-based.

That being said, self-citation is not always avoidable, especially as one’s work is often based on previous work. So, you could go with the same guideline as for plagiarism, about 15%.

Hope that helps. For more insights into citations, you may refer to the following resources:

But again, the less, the better.