Background: Self-citation is one of the main challenges in the evaluation of researchers scientific output. This study aimed at comparing the institutional self-citation among the universities located in Northern Iran. Methods: This study was conducted as a scientometric study. Research population included all scientific productions of 16 Northern Iran Universities with at least 100 indexed documents indexed in the Web of Science (WoS) by 2 June 2015. The citation analysis section of WoS was used for data collection. SPSS was applied for data analysis. Study hypotheses were tested with two independent sample t-test and paired sample t-test. Results: Producing 16,399 papers, northern Iran universities had 5.33% of contribution in Irans scientific production. They received 84,058 citations with 17% and 12% of self-citations belonged to the non-medical and medical universities, respectively. Testing hypotheses revealed that increase in received citations significantly increases the rate of self-citation and increase in scientific production does not necessarily increase the rate of self-citation. Conclusion: The rate of self-citation in the studied universities was not relatively high. However, investigating into the factors affecting the rate of and motives for self-citation needs further research.
Key words: institutional self-citation, scientific output, universities, Northern Iran.