The answer to the question in the title is "Yes, yes, of course they are." The gaming probably goes well beyond the trends observed in this article. Trends include these: "over time, papers became shorter while other features, such as titles, abstracts, and author lists, became longer"; and "a sharp increase in the number of new authors (who) are publishing at a much faster rate given their career age"; and "a drastic increase in the number of ranked journals, with several hundred new ranked journals appearing each year"; and "different domains had widely ranging properties. Even subfields of the same domain had surprisingly different average numbers of citations." Via Reddit.