Hadas Shema, an Information Science PhD student, discusses some of the politics and problems with academic citations in The citation game. She got her facts from Bornmann, L., & Daniel, H. (2008). What do citation counts measure? A review of studies on citing behavior Journal of Documentation, 64 (1).
This one jumped out at me:
Journal-dependent factors: Getting published in a high-factor journal doesn't necessarily mean your paper is the best thing since sliced bread, but it means more people are likely to think so. Also, the first paper in a journal usually gets cited more often (I wonder if that's still relevant, given how wide-spread electronic access is these days) (emphasis added).
Lot's of crap has been published in major journals. And the corollary deserves to be mentioned: lots of good article ar published in minor journals and fail to get the respect or notice they deserve.