But academics have privately expressed alarm at the potential for slipping standards, where journals value citation diversity quotas above the quality of ideas.
Meanwhile, guidelines for the 45-year-old Review of International Studies, published by Cambridge University Press, urge “paying particular attention to the representativeness of citational practices manifested in all article submissions”.
“Recent studies have highlighted the possible under-representation of female and minority scholars in article citations,” authors are advised.
“Review of International Studies is committed to ensuring that scholars receive appropriate intellectual acknowledgement through citations, regardless of race, gender, class, professional standing, or other categorical attributes.”
This is rather a long way from the intended purpose, which is to check that “Hmm, interesting idea, can;t see anything wrong with it”.
Wonder if a paper on Goodhart’s Law – once something has become a target it’s no good as a measure any more – would get into print?