I cite your back – erm – journals, and you cite mine.
Citation Cartels. Our tendency to form coalitions to further the interest of our own group is ever present, even in science. Citing yourself is old stuff – and occasionally also legitimate of course. But there has been reports of journals asking authors to add citations, so that the journal can boost their ranking. (That one is evidently caught if done too blatantly, according to the linked article). But, here, journal editors of different journals start colluding to boost their ranking.
Well, it is not so strange, as this seems to be an oft repeated evolutionary approach (if I am to believe Robert Triver’s Folly of Fools – and I do). Try to find strategies to get ahead, even if it is going against the spirit of the rules.
Time to evolve counter strategies. Expel those cuckoos!