Summary

This document has been elaborated to help "Thomson Reuters–Journal Citation Reports" staff for the
investigation of the activity of a "citation cartel", which is causing a serious distortion in the impact
factor ranking (at least for journals included in the Soil Science section). This document contains
evidences of the citation cartel, composed by people which are simultaneously acting as editors for
several journals. These editors are systematically "recommending" to authors the inclusion of a
number of citations in the papers. Initially, one can consider it as a positive action, especially when
are focused to improve the paper's quality. However, the recommended citations are superfluous
and irrelevant to improve the paper, and always share a common pattern:
A) the recommended citations are papers published in three journals ("Land Degradation &
Develepment", "Solid Earth" and "SOIL"), which are edited by members of the citation cartel, or
B) the recommended papers were authored (or co-authored) by the members of the citation cartel
(Artemi Cerda, Saskia Keesstra, Paulo Pereira, Antonio Jordán, Eric C. Brevik, and others; see table 1).

Therefore, these recommendations should be considered as "coercive citation" and "citation
stacking", being a misconduct, since the unique purpose is the inflation of the impact factor of
journals they edit, and also to boost editors' careers. As consequence of the systematic misconduct
of these editors the journal "Land Degradation & Development" is now occupying the first position in
Soil Science (IF=8.145).

Figure 1. Evolution of the journal impact factor of "Land Degradation & Development". The new
Editor-in-Chief Artemi Cerda started in 2013.

The citation cartel
This "citation cartel" is mainly using the next three journals (and people from one scientific society):
- "Land Degradation & Development" (Wiley, ISSN: 1085-3278). The journal "Land Degradation &
Development" is now occupying the first position in the Journal Citation Reports, having the highest
impact factor in the Soil Sciences category. This journal has been historically ascribed as a Q3 (or
even Q4) journal during the last ten years. The number of citations have increased during the last
years, although with the help of a 'citation cartel', as you'll see in this document. The journal impact
factor (JIF) in the 'Soil Science' category has never been above 4.5 (only Soil Biology and Biochemistry
has been above 4 two times), so the impact factor of LDD in 2015 is almost doubling the best historic
JIF (hard to believe!).
The Editor-in-Chief (since 2013) of this journal is Professor Artemi Cerda (you can see his name also
written as Artemio Cerda; http://www.researcherid.com/rid/I-4670-2013). He announced a change
in that journal; see the next editorial:
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ldr.2196/abstract.

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Please visit the next link to see the editorial board of "Land Degradation & Development":
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1002/(ISSN)1099-145X/homepage/EditorialBoard.html
There, you can see some names: Artemi Cerda (Editor-in-Chief), Antonio Jordan, Saskia Keesstra,
Paulo Pereira (and others; see table 1).

- "Solid Earth (SE) & Discussions (SED)", thereinafter "Solid Earth" (ISSN: 1869-9510): it is an Open
Access (OA) journal of the European Geosciences Union (EGU).
Please visit the next link to see the editorial board of " Solid Earth":
http://www.solid-earth.net/editorial_board.html
There, you can see some names (Antonio Jordán, Artemi Cerda, Paulo Pereira), which are also
included as members of the editorial board of "Land Degradation & Development" (see table 1).

- "SOIL & SOIL Discussions (SOILD)", thereinafter "SOIL" (ISSN 2199-3971). This is another OA journal
of EGU. This journal was recently launched, and therefore it is still without impact factor. Professor
Artemi Cerdà proposed the creation of the journal SOIL to the EGU council during his presidency in
the Soil System Sciences of EGU. A copy of the email sent to the EGU council can be found in a
Spanish blog about soil science (see at the end of this link, after a few paragraphs written in Spanish):
http://www.madrimasd.org/blogs/universo/2013/12/07/144604
In this link you can read the next sentence about the "future" of the new journal SOIL: "We envision
that after the initial period of establishing SOIL it will soon emerge as the field’s highest impact factor
journal and become the preferred outlet for research on Soil System Sciences."

Here you can see the editorial board of "SOIL": http://www.soil-journal.net/editorial_board.html
There, you can see some names: Eric C. Brevik, J. Mataix-Solera, Artemi Cerda, Antonio Jordan...
Again, there are some names which were also included in the other journals (table 1)

- "Soil System Sciences (SSS)" division of European Geosciences Union (EGU): A description of the
EGU can be found on the next link: http://www.egu.eu/about/
The EGU has a section (division) about "Soil System Sciences": http://sss.egu.eu
The next links contain the list of the structure and members (http://www.egu.eu/sss/structure/), and
reports (http://www.egu.eu/sss/reports/). There, you can see some names: Artemi Cerda, Saskia
Keesstra, Antonio Jordan, Eric C. Brevik, Paulo Pereira, J. Mataix-Solera, Agata Novara, J.F.
Martinez–Murillo. The current president is Saskia Keesstra, and the former was Artemi Cerda.

Table 1. Members of the citation cartel (in bold). Participation of other authors (*) and journals (**) is dubious.
Land Degrad. SOIL Solid CATENA** GEODERMA** SSS division EGU
Develop. (1) (2) Earth (3) (4) (5) (6 and 7)
Artemi Cerda E-i-C EB EB EB EB X
E.C. Brevick EB ExeEd EB X
A. Jordán EB EB ExeEd X
P. Pereira EB EB EB X
S. Keesstra EB X
J. Mataix-Solera* ExeEd EB X
J.F. Murillo* EB EB X
A. Novara* EB X
(1) http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1002/(ISSN)1099-145X/homepage/EditorialBoard.html
(2) http://www.soil-journal.net/editorial_board.html
(3) http://www.solid-earth.net/editorial_board.html
(4) http://www.journals.elsevier.com/catena/editorial-board
(5) http://www.journals.elsevier.com/geoderma/editorial-board
(6) http://www.egu.eu/sss/structure/
(7) (Some names appear in some years, not only in 2016 structure) http://www.egu.eu/sss/reports/

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The table 1 shows the simultaneous activity of some editors (acting as Editor-in-chief, executive
editor or member of the editorial board) in several journals, and also in SSS division of EGU.
According with several evidences, Professor Artemi Cerdà is playing a central role in this "citation
cartel". However, the help and participation of other people (Antonio Jordán, Paulo Pereira, Eric C.
Brevik and Saskia Keesstra) is needed. Probably, there are other people implied (see those included
in table 1 having an asterisk), because they have been clearly benefited by the activity of the cartel,
although this will be discussed in next points (see LIST #7).

The main citation flows
The main tool of this "citation cartel" is the "coercive citation": these editors (sometimes even acting
as reviewers) are systematically requesting to authors the addition of some references in their
manuscripts. This "recommendation" is targeted to selected journals and selected papers,
irrespective of its usefulness. As you'll see in next points, most of the authors affected by the
"citation cartel" belong to developing countries (see more details in lists #1 to #6).

Table 2. Main citation fluxes
Source Sink (papers published in)
(journal including the citations) Land Degradat. Develop (LDD) Solid Earth SOIL Papers*
Land Degradat. Develop (LDD) F1 F2 F3 F4
Solid Earth F5 F6 F7 F8
SOIL F9 F10 F11 F12
Papers* F13 F14 F15 F16
* Papers authored by members of the citation cartel, although published in other journals.

Figure 2. Solid Earth is a large source of citations to Land Degradation & Development (flux F5), since both
journals are sharing a number of editors (members of the citation cartel).

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The main fluxes of citations are shown in table 2. This is a brief description of most important fluxes
shown in table 2:
- Papers published in "Land Degradation & Development (LDD)" are citing papers published in "Land
Degradation & Development (LDD)" (denoted as F1 in Table 2). This journal (LDD) is citing massively
to LDD papers: i.e., the self-citation rate is very high (higher than 60% last years), according to "Citing
Journal Data" in InCites (Journal Citation Reports). The EiC (Artemi Cerda) systematically requests
authors to add citations to LDD.
- Papers published in LDD are also receiving a large number of citations from (manipulated) papers
published in Solid Earth (denoted as F5 in Table 2). This flux is even higher than F1 during the last
years (see "Cited journal data" in InCItes). Consequently, the sum of F1 and F5 would provide a more
realistic data about self-citation, since both journals are sharing editors. Thus, the cartel is using Solid
Earth as a platform to increase the number of LDD citations. In this way, they use the F5 flux to avoid
a very big F1. As consequence of this manipulation, this journal (Land Degradation & Development
(LDD) is now ranked at first position in Soil Science, with a very high IF=8.145, which is extremely
(and suspiciously) high for a soil science journal (only two times IF was over 4 for Soil Biology &
Biochemistry).
- The number of citations in fluxes F9 and F13 are low.
- Recently, a few papers published in "Solid Earth" (see PAPERS 5, 16, 17 and 21 in the LIST #7) are
receiving citations from Land Degradation & Development (F2), Solid Earth (F6) or SOIL (F11). These
papers were authored by members of the cartel (thus, "citation stacking").
- The fluxes F3, F7 and F11 are highly clustered in a few selected papers. As example, see the paper
entitled "The Interdisciplinary Nature of SOIL", published in SOIL 1, 117−129 (2015) by E.C. Brevik, A.
Cerdà, J. Mataix-Solera, L. Pereg, J.N. Quinton, J. Six, K. Van Oost. This paper is one of the largest
targeted as sink of citations: this paper has been cited 187 times during the last 1.5 years. Such
number of citations (187 times in 1.5 years) is an extremely high number for a recently published
paper in no-indexed soil science journal. The explanation: more than 80% of citations come from
papers published in Land Degradation & Development, Solid Earth, SOIL or authors self-citations. You
can verify data with Google Scholar. The first author is Eric C. Brevik, who is member of the editorial
Board of "Land Degradation & Development" and also member of Soil System Sciences EGU's section
(he is responsible of publication affairs; http://www.egu.eu/sss/structure/). The second author is
Artemi Cerda, who is the Editor-in-Chief "Land Degradation & Development", member of the
editorial boards of SOIL (journal from EGU) and Solid Earth (journal from EGU), and former president
of the Soil System Science of EGU. Professor Artemi Cerda proposed the creation of the journal SOIL
to the EGU council during his presidency in the Soil System Sciences of EGU. The SOIL journal is still
without a JIF, since it was recently launched, but they want to inflate citations numbers (to reach a
high JIF when available). Therefore, a highly inflated JIF is expected for SOIL when available, due to
the activity of this citation cartel. Indeed, you can read the next sentence in the letter submitted by
Artemi Cerdà to disseminate the SOIL as new EGU journal: "We envision that after the initial period of
establishing SOIL it will soon emerge as the field’s highest impact factor journal and become the
preferred outlet for research on Soil System Sciences." That message can be found in a blog about soil
science; the message (in English) is located at the bottom, after an introduction in Spanish:
http://www.madrimasd.org/blogs/universo/2013/12/07/144604

As additional representative example of fluxes F3, F7 and F11 to selected papers, you can check the
paper "The significance of soils and soil science towards realization of the United Nations Sustainable
Development Goals", published in Soil 2 (2), 111 (2016) by Saskia D Keesstra, John N Quinton, Wim H
van der Putten, Richard D Bardgett, Louise O Fresco. This paper has received 28 citations, being 21
from Land Degradation Development (LDD), Solid Earth and SOIL. The first author (Saskia Keesstra) is
member of the cartel (see table 1).

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- The fluxes F4 and F8 are also very important, and reflect how the citation cartel is using these
journals for "citation stacking", just to boost the careers of members and closest colleagues (see
some papers in LIST #7, as PAPER 3, PAPER 6 or PAPER 8).

A few evidences...
This section contains some lists. Some lists are suggesting the presence of the citation cartel, such
LIST #1, and LIST #3. However, the LIST #2 and also the LIST #4 offer solid proofs of the misconduct.
The LIST #5 is also interesting to illustrate how Artemi Cerdà acts as reviewer for Solid Earth (with the
agreement of A. Jordan and P. Pereira), and that list contains representative examples of his activity.
The LIST #6 is also helpful to contrast the misconduct respect a non manipulated review.
Most of the evidences were obtained using ONLY data from Solid Earth. However, I can confirm the
presence of coercive citation in Land Degradation and Development, since as former author in this
journal I received the "recommendations" of the editor (A. Cerdà) to add references to his papers
and others published in LDD and SOIL. So, only evidences from Solid Earth were used as data source
to create lists #1 to #6.
The Solid Earth is a journal from EGU, and therefore each paper submitted follows the "Interactive
Public Peer ReviewTM process". You can see the process of peer review in the journal here:
http://www.solid-earth.net/peer_review/interactive_review_process.html
This process allows to see (and hence to compare) the Discussion paper and the Final Revised paper.
Both the Discussion paper and Revised paper can be downloaded from the journal's Web. Therefore,
you can easily track the presence of "added" references which were not initially included by authors
(hence, these citations were irremediably included during the publication process). Additionally, the
reviewers comments are also available to public.

The LIST #1 contains recent papers published in Solid Earth which were edited by Artemi Cerdà.
These papers contain massive citations to LDD. However, authors were probably asked to add
citations before the acceptance for discussion (see step 3 in peer review process), because the
citations to papers published in LDD were also appearing in the Discussion paper . There is a step
(step 3: technical corrections) where the paper is returned to authors for technical corrections. Then,
there is a chance to "suggest" the addition of citations, but we cannot demonstrate it. Therefore, the
list #1 is not conclusive to proof the presence of the citation cartel.
However, there is also another list of papers (LIST #2). This is a VERY important list; as LIST#1, it
contains papers published in Solid Earth which were ALL edited by Artemi Cerdà and papers contain
massive citations to LDD. However, the papers included this list (LIST #2) confirm the presence of
coercive citation: you can check those citations included in the Final revised paper which were not
included in the Discussion paper (hence, citations were irremediably included in the paper during the
whole editorial process). Most of them are irrelevant to the paper content (superfluous cites).
There is another list (LIST#3) which is similar to LIST#1, although the editors were Antonio Jordán and
Paula Pereira (also members of the citation cartel). Although there is also a list (LIST #4) where these
editors (A. Jordán and P. Pereira) were using coercive citation, as LIST #2, with the help of A. Cerdà as
reviewer.

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LIST #1: recent papers published in Solid Earth edited by Artemi Cerdà. In journals as Solid Earth, the
editor's name appears just before the reference list in the Final revised version.
The papers included in this list are containing massive citations to "Land Degradation &
Development" (most of the authors belong to developing countries). Coercive citation cannot be
directly demonstrated with this list.

- Evaluation of soil fertility in the succession of karst rocky desertification using principal component
analysis (14 citations to LDD)
- Understanding the factors influencing rill erosion on roadcuts in the south eastern region of South
Africa (14 citations to LDD)
- Soil aggregation, erodibility, and erosion rates in mountain soils (NW Alps, Italy) (16 citations to LDD
in this paper!)
- Assessing the determinants of rill erosion on roadcuts in the south eastern region of South Africa (14
citations to LDD)
- Characterization and interaction of driving factors in karst rocky desertification: a case study from
Changshun, China (9 citations to LDD)
- Scale effect on runoff and soil loss control using rice straw mulch under laboratory conditions
- Effects of land use changes on kinetics of potassium release in sweetpotato garden soils of the
highlands, Papua New Guinea
- Kinetics of potassium release in sweet potato cropped soils: a case study in the highlands of Papua
New Guinea
- Cobalt, chromium and nickel contents in soils and plants from a serpentinite quarry
- Identifying areas susceptible to desertification in the Brazilian Northeast
- Spatial variability of soil properties and soil erodibility in the Alqueva reservoir watershed
- Does Jatropha curcas L. show resistance to drought in the Sahelian zone of West Africa? A case
study from Burkina Faso (7 citations to LDD)
- Vegetation in karst terrain of southwestern China allocates more biomass to roots
- Effects of land use changes and soil conservation intervention on soil properties as indicators for
land degradation under a Mediterranean climate (13 citations to LDD)
- MODIS NDVI and vegetation phenology dynamics in the Inner Mongolia grassland
- Short-term grazing exclusion has no impact on soil properties and nutrients of degraded alpine
grassland in Tibet, China
- Influence of humic acid applications on modulus of rupture, aggregate stability, electrical
conductivity, carbon and nitrogen content of a crusting problem soil
- Predicting parameters of degradation succession processes of Tibetan Kobresia grasslands
- Coffee husk mulch on soil erosion and runoff: experiences under rainfall simulation experiment
- Rangeland degradation assessment: a new strategy based on the ecological knowledge of
indigenous pastoralists
- Vegetation cover change detection and assessment in arid environment using multi-temporal
remote sensing images and ecosystem management approach
- CO2 emission and structural characteristics of two calcareous soils amended with municipal solid
waste and plant residue
- Integrating a mini catchment with mulching for soil water management in a sloping jujube orchard
on the semiarid Loess Plateau of China
- Evaluation of promising technologies for soil salinity amelioration in Timpaki (Crete): a participatory
approach
- Aggregate breakdown and surface seal development influenced by rain intensity, slope gradient and
soil particle size
- The impact of standard preparation practice on the runoff and soil erosion rates under laboratory
conditions
- etc.

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LIST #2: recent papers published in Solid Earth edited by A. Cerdà, where cites to Land Degradation
& Development (LDD) were included during publication process (supporting the presence of
"coercive citation").
As illustrative example, you can start with the next paper:
- Biochar increases plant available water in a sandy soil under an aerobic rice cropping system,
published by M. T. de Melo Carvalho et al. in Solid Earth, 5, 939-952, 2014.
You can download the Discussion paper (published on 18 Mar 2014) using this link:
http://www.solid-earth-discuss.net/6/887/2014/sed-6-887-2014.pdf
As you can see, the submitted version does not contain references to LDD in its References list.
Now, you can download the Final revised paper (published on 03 Sep 2014), using the next link:
http://www.solid-earth.net/5/939/2014/se-5-939-2014.pdf
Now you can see nine references to LDD in the final revised published version (not initially included).

All the next papers included in this list (LIST #2) have the same problem: the presence of abundant
citations to LDD in the final revision paper, which were not included in the Discussion paper. Hence,
these citations to LDD were irremediably included during the publication process, confirming the
presence of "coercive citation". These are a few papers included in LIST #2:
- Adsorption, desorption and fractionation of As(V) on untreated and mussel shell-treated granitic
material
- Assessment of environmental soil quality around Sonepur Bazari mine of Raniganj coalfield, India
- Relationship between hydraulic properties and plant coverage of the closed-landfill soils in Piacenza
(Po Valley, Italy)
- A web based spatial decision supporting system for land management and soil conservation
- Landfill site suitability assessment by means of geographic information system analysis
- A fuzzy intelligent system for land consolidation – a case study in Shunde, China
- Socioeconomic modifications of the universal soil loss equation
- Precision of farmer based fertility ratings and soil organic carbon for crop production on a Ferralso
- Thermal shock and splash effects on burned gypseous soils from the Ebro Basin
- Factors driving the carbon mineralization priming effect in a sandy loam soil amended with different
types of biochar
- Grassland fire effect on soil organic carbon reservoirs in a semiarid environment
- Investigation of the relationship between landform classes and electrical conductivity (EC) of water
and soil using a fuzzy model in a GIS environment
- Desertification of forest, range and desert in Tehran province, affected by climate change
- Responses of aeolian desertification to a range of climate scenarios in China
- Vegetation greenness response to water availability in northern China from 1982 to 2006
- Modeling the contributing factors of desertification and evaluating their relationships to the soil
degradation process through geomatic techniques
- Alleviating aluminum toxicity in an acid sulfate soil from Peninsular Malaysia by calcium silicate
application
- Soil indicators to assess the effectiveness of restoration strategies in dryland ecosystems
- Assessment of combating-desertification strategies using the linear assignment method
- Effect of polluted water on soil and plant contamination by heavy metals in El-Mahla El-Kobra, Egypt
- Aggregate breakdown and surface seal development influenced by rain intensity, slope gradient and
soil particle size
- Quantifying the impact of land degradation on crop production: the case of Senegal
- Effects of vegetation restoration on the aggregate stability and distribution of aggregate-associated
organic carbon in a typical karst gorge region
- Stability and biodegradability of humic substances from Arctic soils of Western Siberia: insights from
13C-NMR spectroscopy and elemental analysis
- Soil contamination in landfills: a case study of a landfill in Czech Republic
- etc...

7/15
List #3: recent papers published in Solid Earth, citing massively to papers in LDD, and edited by A.
Jordán or P. Pereira, which are other members of the citation cartel:
- Soil physical quality changes under different management systems after 10 years in the Argentine
humid pampa
- Livestock redistribute runoff and sediments in semi-arid rangeland areas (20 citations to LDD!)
- Responses of vertical soil moisture to rainfall pulses and land uses in a typical loess hilly area, China
(A. Cerda acting as reviewer)
- Karst bare slope soil erosion and soil quality: a simulation case study (A. Cerda acting as reviewer)
- Spatial variability of some soil properties varies in oil palm (Elaeis guineensis Jacq.) plantations of
west coastal area of India
- Effects of pumice mining on soil quality
- Grazing effects on soil characteristics and vegetation of grassland in northern China
- The challenge and future of rocky desertification control in karst areas in southwest China
- Examining the fixation kinetics of chelated and non-chelated copper and the applications to
micronutrient management in semiarid alkaline soils (A.Cerda as reviewer)

List #4: recent papers published in Solid Earth, edited by A. Jordán or P. Pereira, clearly supporting
"coercive citation" (as list#2):
- Changes in soil quality after converting Pinus to Eucalyptus plantations in southern China
- Impact of the addition of different plant residues on nitrogen mineralization–immobilization
turnover and carbon content of a soil incubated under laboratory conditions
- Soil organic carbon along an altitudinal gradient in the Despeñaperros Natural Park, southern Spain
- Reducing sediment concentration and soil loss using organic and inorganic amendments at plot
scale
- Land use effects on soil organic carbon sequestration in calcareous Leptosols in former pastureland
– a case study from the Tatra Mountains (Poland)
- Analysis of soil moisture condition under different land uses in arid region of Horqin Sandy Land,
northern China (A.Cerda as reviewer)
- Identification of areas vulnerable to soil erosion risk in India using GIS methods
- Changes in soil organic carbon and nitrogen capacities of Salix cheilophila Schneid along a
revegetation chronosequence in semi-arid degraded sandy land of the Gonghe Basin, Tibet Plateau
(A.Cerda as reviewer)
- Impact of land management system on crop yields and soil fertility in Cameroon (A.Cerda as
reviewer)
- The effects of grazing on the spatial pattern of elm (Ulmus pumila L.) in the sparse woodland steppe
of Horqin Sandy Land in northeastern China
- Determinants of farmers’ tree planting investment decision as a degraded landscape management
strategy in the central highlands of Ethiopia
- Distribution of inorganic phosphorus in profiles and particle-size fractions across an established
riparian buffer and adjacent cropped area at the Dian lake (A.Cerda as reviewer)

List #5: These papers are still under review in Solid Earth (unknown editors, but they probably
should be Antonio Jordan or Paulo Pereira). These papers are clear examples of ridiculous low
quality review reports, where the unique "problem" observed by the reviewer (Artemi Cerda) is the
need to improve of the citations list. Hence, he just only suggests the addition of references,
providing a list to:
- to papers authored by members of the citation cartel (A. Cerda, E. Brevick, P. Pereira, S. Keesstra, A.
Jordan, etc.) or
- to papers in published in LDD, SOIL and Solid Earth (i.e., the journals selected for JIF manipulation).
Thus, most authors tend to accept his "suggestions", since that is the unique problem, and it can be
easily repaired.

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These are the papers included in list #5:
- Effects of topsoil treatments on afforestation in a dry-Mediterranean climate (southern Spain)
- Cooperative effects of field traffic and organic matter treatments on some compaction-related soil
properties.
Visit the link:
http://www.solid-earth-discuss.net/se-2016-84/
Please, download the annotated pdf document (by clicking in the symbol ) which is available in
the interactive discussion of the paper RC1: 'review', Anonymous Referee #1, 09 Aug 2016
[reply]
Here is the complete link for download the annotated manuscript:
http://editor.copernicus.org/index.php?_mdl=msover_md&_jrl=431&_lcm=oc108lcm109w&_acm=g
et_comm_sup_file&_ms=51690&c=110456&salt=15267548052146688804
In that pdf ( ) you can see how Artemi Cerda suggests the improvement of the paper (just adding
cites here and here).

- There is another recent example, where Artemi Cerda acts as reviewer (and asks for citations):
Determination of critical pH and Al concentration of acidic Ultisols for wheat and canola crops
http://www.solid-earth-discuss.net/se-2016-126/

List #6: Papers published in Solid Earth (and about soils) which are free of references to LDD.
It is important to show papers published in Solid Earth (and about soils) which do not cite to LDD (or
selected papers authored by members of the cartel). As expected, these papers have not been edited
neither reviewed by people forming that "citation cartel" (table 1).
- Permafrost-affected soils and their carbon pools with a focus on the Russian Arctic
- Furfural and its biochar improve the general properties of a saline soil
- Biochar can be used to recapture essential nutrients from dairy wastewater and improve soil quality
- Evaluating the importance of surface soil contributions to reservoir sediment in alpine environments:
a combined modelling and fingerprinting approach in the Posets-Maladeta Natural Park

The list #6 (together with citing data from other journals) supports the idea that LDD is not a highly
cited journal.

List #7: PAPERS receiving massive citations (papers selected as sinks of citations):
There are other clear evidences of misconduct, especially trying to boost the scientific career of some
people included in this citation cartel, such as Artemi Cerda, Saskia Keesstra, Antonio Jordán, Eric
Brevick, Paulo Pereira and others included in table 1.
The next papers were authored (or co-authored) by people forming the citation cartel, and are
receiving massive citations from LDD, Solid Earth and SOIL. These papers are receiving massive
citations despite its recent publication date (i.e., from coetaneous papers published the same year),
with the aim to affect on the calculation of the JIF. These papers received a good number of citations
from the authors (authors self-citation), but the most important number of citations come from Land
Degradation & Development (LDD), Solid Earth, and SOIL, confirming the citation cartel. The
percentages of citations from LDD and Solid Earth to the papers is >60% (even >90% in some cases).
All these observations proof the existence of the citation cartel. Most of the manuscripts targeted for
coercive citation were submitted by researchers from developing countries (see lists #1 to #4).
This document only contains evidences from journals Solid Earth (mainly) and SOIL, where the
system ("Interactive Public Peer ReviewTM") allows to see reviews comments. However, the most
important number of citations to LDD (and also to papers authored by these editors) come from LDD.
This cannot be directly visualized, as in Solid Earth or SOIL. However, I can confirm the presence of
coercive citation in Land Degradation and Development, since I suffered coercive citation as co-

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author in a paper submitted to that journal: the editor (Artemi Cerda) sent us a list of references to
include in the reference list of our manuscript.
The next list (LIST #7) is a rapid compilation (non-exhaustive) of a few papers (authored or co-
authored by cartel members denoted in bold) that have been CLEARLY benefited by the citation
cartel (sinks of citations, mostly to improve the 'numbers' of editors and inflate JIF). Data obtained
from Google Scholar (August-2016).

PAPER 1: Soil conservation through sediment trapping: a review
M Mekonnen, SD Keesstra, L Stroosnijder, JEM Baartman, J Maroulis
Land Degradation & Development 26 (6), 544-556 (2016)
34 cites (out 53) come from LDD, Solid Earth or SOIL.

PAPER 2: The significance of soils and soil science towards realization of the United Nations
Sustainable Development Goals
Saskia D Keesstra, John N Quinton, Wim H van der Putten, Richard D Bardgett, Louise O Fresco
Soil 2 (2), 111 (2016)
This paper has received 28 citations, being 21 from Land Degradation Development (LDD), Solid Earth
and SOIL.

PAPER 3: Soil as a filter for groundwater quality
SD Keesstra, V Geissen, K Mosse, S Piiranen, E Scudiero, M Leistra, ...
Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 4 (5), 507-516 (2012)
The paper was published in 2012. During the period 2012 to 2014, the paper was cited only five
times. Suddenly, it received 29 citations in 2015, and 21 (out 29) cites come from LDD and Solid
Earth. In 2016, the paper was cited 71 times, being 49 from Solid Earth and LDD.
In overall, 70 cites (out 105) from LDD, Solid Earth and SOIL.

PAPER 4: The Interdisciplinary Nature of SOIL
EC Brevik, A Cerdà, J Mataix-Solera, L Pereg, JN Quinton, J Six, ...
SOIL 1, 117−129 (2015)
This paper was cited 187 during 2015 and 2016, where 126 cites (out 187) come from LDD, Solid
Earth and SOIL. Another 26 cites were obtained from self-citation (papers of the same authors).

PAPER 5: Managing soil nitrate with cover crops and buffer strips in Sicilian vineyards
A Novara, L Gristina, F Guaitoli, A Santoro, A Cerdà
Solid Earth 4 (2), 255 (2013)
25 cites (out 40) come from LDD, Solid Earth and SOIL.

PAPER 6: The immediate effectiveness of barley straw mulch in reducing soil erodibility and surface
runoff generation in Mediterranean vineyards
M Prosdocimi, A Jordán, P Tarolli, S Keesstra, A Novara, A Cerdà
Science of the Total Environment 547, 323-330 (2016)
20 cites (out 32) come from LDD, Solid Earth and SOIL.
6 cites from self-citation (papers of the same authors).

PAPER 7: Use of barley straw residues to avoid high erosion and runoff rates on persimmon
plantations in Eastern Spain under low frequency–high magnitude simulated rainfall events
A Cerdà, Ó González-Pelayo, A Giménez-Morera, A Jordán, P Pereira, ...
Soil Research 54 (2), 154-165 (2016)
8 cites from self-citation (papers of the same authors).
15 cites (out 30) come from LDD, Solid Earth and SOIL.

10/15
PAPER 8: Effects of soil management techniques on soil water erosion in apricot orchards
Saskia Keesstra, Paulo Pereira, Agata Novara, Eric C Brevik, Cesar Azorin-Molina, Luis Parras-
Alcántara, Antonio Jordán, Artemi Cerdà
Science of the Total Environment 551, 357-366 (2016)
7 cites from self-citation (papers of the same authors).
18 cites (out 28) come from LDD, Solid Earth and SOIL.

PAPER 9: Soil water erosion on Mediterranean vineyards: A review
M Prosdocimi, A Cerdà, P Tarolli
Catena 141, 1-21 (2016)
4 cites from self-citation (papers of the same authors).
14 cites (out 28) come from LDD, Solid Earth and SOIL.

PAPER 10: Carbon input threshold for soil carbon budget optimization in eroding vineyards
A García-Díaz, RB Allas, L Gristina, A Cerdà, P Pereira, A Novara
Geoderma 271, 144-149 (2016)
8 cites (out 11) come from LDD.

PAPER 11: The impact of organic amendments on soil hydrology, structure and microbial respiration
in semiarid lands
N Yazdanpanah, M Mahmoodabadi, A Cerdà
Geoderma 266, 58-65 (2016)
11 cites (out 16) come from LDD, Solid Earth or SOIL.

PAPER 12: Understanding the role of soil erosion on CO2-C loss using 13 C isotopic signatures in
abandoned Mediterranean agricultural land
A Novara, S Keesstra, A Cerdà, P Pereira, L Gristina
Science of the Total Environment 550, 330-336 (2016)
10 cites (out 12) come from LDD.

PAPER 13: Impact of land use and land cover changes on organic carbon stocks in Mediterranean
soils (1956–2007)
M Muñoz‐Rojas, A Jordán, LM Zavala, D De la Rosa, SK Abd‐Elmabod, ...
Land Degradation & Development 26 (2), 168-179 (2015)
17 cites (out 34) come from LDD, Solid Earth or SOIL.

PAPER 14: Soil organic carbon stocks assessment in Mediterranean natural areas: a comparison of
entire soil profiles and soil control sections
L Parras-Alcántara, B Lozano-García, EC Brevik, A Cerdá
Journal of environmental management 155, 219-228 (2015)
8 cites from self-citation (papers of the same authors).
10 cites (out 25) come from LDD, Solid Earth and SOIL.

PAPER 15: The impact of organic amendments on forest soil properties under Mediterranean climatic
conditions
P Hueso‐González, JF Martínez‐Murillo, JD Ruiz‐Sinoga
Land Degradation & Development 25 (6), 604-612 (2014)
11 cites (out 26) come from LDD, Solid Earth and SOIL.

11/15
PAPER 16: Rainfall and human activity impacts on soil losses and rill erosion in vineyards (Ruwer
Valley, Germany)
JR Comino, C Brings, T Lassu, T Iserloh, JM Senciales, JFM Murillo, ...
Solid Earth 6 (3), 823 (2015)
5 cites (out 11) come from LDD, Solid Earth and SOIL.

PAPER 17: Seasonal changes in the soil hydrological and erosive response depending on aspect,
vegetation type and soil water repellency in different Mediterranean microenvironments
MA Gabarrón-Galeote, JF Martínez-Murillo, MA Quesada, JD Ruiz-Sinoga
Solid Earth 4 (2), 497 (2013)
26 cites (out 36) come from LDD, Solid Earth and SOIL.

PAPER 18: Soil structural stability and erosion rates influenced by agricultural management practices
in a semi‐arid Mediterranean agro‐ecosystem
F García‐Orenes, A Roldán, J Mataix‐Solera, A Cerdà, M Campoy, ...
Soil Use and Management 28 (4), 571-579 (2012)
39 cites (out 70) come from LDD, Solid Earth and SOIL.

PAPER 19: Effects of climate, land cover and topography on soil erosion risk in a semiarid basin of the
Andes
PA Ochoa, A Fries, D Mejía, JI Burneo, JD Ruíz-Sinoga, A Cerdà
Catena 140, 31-42. (2016)
7 cites (out 9) come from LDD

PAPER 20: Rhizosphere soil indicators for carbon sequestration in a reclaimed coal mine spoil
S Mukhopadhyay, RE Masto, A Cerdà, LC Ram
Catena 141, 100-108 (2016)
4 cites (out 4) come from LDD and Solid Earth

PAPER 21: Soil physical quality changes under different management systems after 10 years in the
Argentine humid pampa
JL Costa, V Aparicio, A Cerdà
Solid Earth 6 (1), 361 (2015)
12 cites (out 17) come from LDD, Soil, and Solid Earth.

PAPER 22: Loss of plant species diversity reduces soil erosion resistance
F Berendse, J van Ruijven, E Jongejans, S Keesstra
Ecosystems 18 (5), 881-888 (2015)
50 cites (out 70) come from LDD, SOIL, and Solid Earth.

----------------------------------------------

12/15
Some figures about members performance (Scopus, August-2016):
Finally, I would like to include a few additional figures to illustrate the effects of the citation cartel on
the performance of the members (citation stacking). This cartel started in 2013, where they accessed
to the editorial boards of the implied journals, and also in the SSS EGU.
1) Citations from papers published in Land Degradation & Development
- Artemi Cerda
Number of citations from Land Degradation & Development to papers published by A. Cerdà

- Saskia Keesstra
Number of citations from Land Degradation & Development to papers published by Saskia Keesstra

13/15
- Antonio Jordan
Number of citations from Land Degradation & Development to papers published by Antonio Jordan

- Paulo Pereira
Number of citations from Land Degradation & Development to papers published by Paulo Pereira

14/15
- J Mataix-Solera
Number of citations from Land Degradation & Development to papers published by J. Mataix-Solera

2) Citations from Solid Earth to papers published by Artemi Cerda

15/15

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