Wednesday, 21 January 2015

How to Increase Your Citation Rates in 10 Easy Steps (part 1 and part 2)

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How to Increase Your Citation Rates in 10 Easy Steps (part 1)

Increasingly, funding agencies and prospective
employers are demanding ever more from their potential researchers. In
the past, publishing in well-known international journals was enough.
Not any more. The new metric that is being used to measure the status
(and arguably the impact) of a researcher is the number of citations of
their journal articles. This is really tough on young researchers,
especially in fields that either move slowly or at least publish slowly.
However, there are proactive measures that one can take to increase
citation rates. Here are 10 of them.

1. Publish, Publish, Publish

If your research is only available as a thesis, there are only a few
brave souls who will read it. Many students when they finish their
doctorates are fairly burnt out. They are tired of their topic, annoyed
with their supervisor, and/or focused on their new job and new life.
Years of poverty (and possibly chastity) often temper one’s enthusiasm
for digging through old data to start new publications. Unfortunately,
amongst life’s uncertainties there are only two things no one can take
from you. These are your degrees and your publication. Thus, buck up
your pride, turn on your computer, and start writing. Do this every day
for at least one hour until your manuscript has been submitted to a
journal. Repeat this until every piece of interesting data and/or
analysis has either been published or is at least being reviewed.

2. Publish Where It Counts

Not so many years ago, the number of “reputable” journals was fairly
small. Now the choice of where to publish can be quite daunting, and
many of the options currently available are not particularly good. As a
simple rule of how to select an acceptable journal is to check that it
is indexed in the Institute for Scientific Information (more commonly
known as Thomson ISI or just ISI). If it is not, many academic
institutions will not consider it as having a sufficiently high impact
to be counted towards hiring or promotion. Not all of your publications
have to be ISI indexed, but most should. At a minimum they should appear
in Compendex. Compendex’s standards for inclusion are not as rigorous
as ISI but still much higher than many of the other indexing options
(e.g. Google Scholar). Additionally, unless you are in computer science
or a few other special areas, a conference paper holds little weight in
hiring and promotion decisions.

3. Check the Review Cycle Duration

Another consideration in selecting a journal is its review cycle. You
want to avoid having your paper in review for a year and then having it
either rejected or spending another year until the revisions are
accepted. Determining the length of the review cycle can be difficult,
but some journals publish the expected duration of their review cycle in
their mission statement. Additionally, you can always write to the
editor for this information. As a rule of thumb, if the journal does not
have an electronic submission system, the review cycle is likely to be
very long. Another good thing about journals with short review cycles
is that even if your paper is rejected, you can quickly get it submitted

4. Make Certain There Are On-line Preprints

A related factor is the publication cycle. Just because your paper is
accepted does not mean that it is available. It may languor in an “in
press” status for more than a year. This is really bad. To avoid this,
many journals have now gone to electronic preprints. This means that
within days of acceptance the paper is assigned a unique digital object
identifier (DOI) and is electronically published. For most major
academic publishers (e.g. Taylor and Francis, Elsevier), this is now the
norm. Where this is not yet uniformly the case is for journals
published by professional or trade organizations. To compound this
issue, many of these publications only appear quarterly and can have
long backlogs. Thus, an accepted paper may not be published for an
additional one to two years. In today’s highly competitive climate, few
researchers can afford to wait that long.

5. Publish a Review Paper

Years ago, the top journals would not publish review papers, as they
were not considered as original research. This position has changed
quite dramatically as editors have come to realize that good review
papers are often highly cited. These citations translate to higher
impact factors for the journals (a factor on which many authors base
their decisions on where to publish; but impact factors are a subject
for another day). Thus, review papers are now fairly welcome. While one
cannot make a career of writing review papers, one or two well placed
ones can help greatly increase your overall citation count. As one’s
career progresses these citations become the basis for establishing
other indices that consider not only the total number of citations
acquired by each paper but the aggregate of the citations from all of an
author’s citations.

How to Increase Your Citation Rates in 10 Easy Steps (part 2)

In part 1 of “How to Increase Your Citation Rates”,
recommendations were made relating to publishing all that you can,
writing a review paper, and investigating where to publish, along with
the specifics as to determining a journal’s review and publication
cycles. Five additional suggestions are provided below:

1. Use Open Repositories

An open repository is typically a publicly-accessible Internet site
that provides a no cost version of the finalized text, images, and
tables of published journal papers from individuals affiliated with the
hosting body. Most commonly this is a university or group of
universities. Due to copyright issues, papers are often not in their
typeset format. This will depend upon the publisher. There may also be
an enforced waiting period of 12-24 months. The administrator of the
open repository can usually advise as to the requirements. Despite these
modifications, your research will be freely available to anyone with
internet access. Many funding agencies, especially in the health
sciences are now requiring that all published output that was generated
from their funds is publicly available in some type of no cost format.
If your institution does not have an open repository, there are other
options such as ResearchGate (, which
promotes itself as a social networking site for scientists and
researchers to share papers, ask and answer questions, and find
collaborators. Participating will also enable others to contact you
about your papers. Another option is to simply post your cv on-line with
hyper-links to non-copyright protected versions or with an email
address where researchers may request a version directly from you.

2. Get full credit for your papers and your citations

Due to publisher requirements, the exact format of your name may not
appear consistently on all of your publications (e.g. Debra Laefer,
Debra F. Laefer, D Laefer, DF Laefer) This may cause confusion for
organizations and algorithms that compile citation statistics. There
will be an even greater chance that you will not be credited with all of
the papers you have written, to say nothing of the affiliated
citations, if you have changed your name, changed organizational
affiliation, or have a common name (e.g. Brian Smith). One way to
minimize this is to consciously select a name under which you will
publish and stick to it. If you have a common name, this may mean
including a middle initial or name that you do not usually use. If you
changed your name, this may mea continuing to publish under your maiden
name, even if it is no longer your legal name.

Another way to help the situation is to set up a profile on Google
scholar ( The system will also allow you to
identify where versions of your paper may appear with slightly different
titles, even though there is only one publication. This often happens
when a title has a hyphenated word or an author’s name is easily
misspelled. Google scholar also gives you an instantaneous way to check
your citations. Finally this will assist other scholars looking for one
of your publications to quickly check if there is related work that you
have published that may also be of interest to them.

3. Publish Your Data Sets

Archiving one’s data sets is simply good practice. Think of it as
using cloud computing to the “nth” degree. Datacite and similar
organizations can assign a unique digital object identifier to the data.
This allows you to increase your research profile and to have something
else with which to collect citations. Because of the high cost of data
collection, it also provides an opportunity to develop a reputation for
high quality data generation, even if others do not agree with your
processing or interpretation methods.

4. Let Others Know What You Are Doing

In some fields and at some institutions, sending out press releases
is common practice. Even if this is not the case at your current
organization, there is nothing preventing you from doing this (however
you should probably check with your institution’s press office to see if
their approval is needed for such things). Often such notifications
lead to small articles in science sections of local and national
newspapers or specialty trade publications. Another option is to send
your articles to colleagues and researchers in the area. Being an
academic is not for the faint of heart or the shy of spirit. Success
requires at least some level of self-promotion. So when you have
published something of which you are proud, let others know. Send a copy
to the top 5 or 10 academics in the area. Perhaps they will ignore your
overture, but perhaps not. With email and electronic versions of the
paper, all it costs is 15 minutes of your time and setting aside any
misgivings. The rewards could be fantastic including being asked to
give a guest lecture or to serve as a collaborator. It might even lead
to your next job offer. In short, there is simply nothing to lose.

5. When Appropriate, Cite Yourself

No journal reviewer likes to see a manuscript dominated by
self-citations, but if you have done previous work in the area in which
you are writing, do not exclude your own contributions from literature
review, as well as anything needed in the methodology or comparative
results section. As a rule of thumb, limit self-citation to a maximum of
three references and only include journal papers.

How to Increase Your Citation Rates in 10 Easy Steps (part 2)

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Article Published: May, 2014

How to Increase Your Citation Rates in 10 Easy Steps (part 1) - Careers Advice -

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