Increasing Citations and Improving Your Impact FactorQuantitative metrics are of increasing importance in
the evaluation of scholarly research, as universities, governments and
funding bodies try to find ways of making their hiring, funding and
investment decisions according to measurable criteria. This has had a
significant effect on journals publishing, with the well-known Impact
Factor quickly brought into play as a ready-made indicator of the
quality and significance of a published piece of work.
At SAGE we are determined to support our journal editors
and publishing partners in maximizing citations to the articles they
publish without ever trying to ‘game’ the system, which can only
compromise perceived quality.
We do this specifically by providing editors with the
tools to make informed decisions about what sorts of articles and
topics they might wish to commission, which potential authors to contact
for relevant papers, etc. More generally, all our marketing and online
activities are developed with the aim of increasing citations integral
to their design.
When evaluating strategies to increase the citation performance of your journal, it is useful to consider:
- Solicit papers from highly-cited authors
Analysis of the most highly cited content from both your own and
competitive journals reveals the most highly-cited authors who could be
invited back or asked to publish in the journal or edit a future
- Identify highly-cited papers in your journal and related titles
These are indicative of emerging trends and hot topics
on which to commission and consider extended special issue features.
Ask your SAGE Editor to provide you with a list of highly cited
articles in particular journals or across the subject category.
- Identify zero-cited papers
A percentage of published articles may never be cited at all. Review
what topics do not attract citations and use this information to feed
into your publishing strategy. Note that it is important to remember
that some papers can take a long time to accrue citations (though of
course older papers will not influence the Impact Factor) and
cited’ does not mean ‘not read’. Strike a balance between maximizing
citations and serving your readership.
- Review articles
Comprehensive review articles are likely to attract a high number of
readers and citations. Active recruitment of review articles is often
required; you may like to consider appointing a dedicated reviews
editor for this purpose.
- Special issues
Special or themed issues on high-impact topics can
attract a lot of attention and citations. Including a review article
that discussed the literature can also help attract citations.
- Speed of publication
Improving turnaround times, introducing fast-track
publication for potential high impact papers and timing the publication
of papers with their presentation at research meetings can all help
Publishing accepted articles online prior to print and
electronic publication in the journal issue means that they can be
- Remind authors and reviewers of relevant papers previously published
Although very high levels self-citation (more than
20%) can lead to being ejected from the Thomson Reuters Journal
Citation Reports, it is perfectly common for your authors to cite work
from articles previously published in the journal. Reviewers could be
encouraged to check that submitted papers are making sufficient
reference to the journal. Making journal self-citation a condition for
publication, however, or specifying particular citations to submitting
authors, is unethical and not to be done.
- Free access campaigns
Alert your SAGE Editor of any topical or otherwise
potentially citable articles or special issues that could be made
freely available and then ask the author to help promote their work
within their networks.
In addition, make sure you are signed up to receive SAGE alerts (http://online.sagepub.com/cgi/alerts)
so that you are aware of when we are running any global free trials.
Notify your colleagues and encourage them to read and cite the journal!
- Press Releases
A SAGE Article Press Release program is available on a
case by case evaluation basis to raise the visibility of particular
articles, and highlight new and important research. We are interested in
hearing from you about any papers coming up for publication in your
journal that may be of interest to the media. Do ask your SAGE
Publishing Editor for more information.
- Social Media Promotion
Social Media has become a rapidly-growing forum for
promotion of journal content. If you utilize sites such as Twitter,
Facebook, LinkedIn, or have a related blog, we encourage you to promote
individual articles on these channels.
- Article to Volume ratios
The number of articles or other citable items published
per volume will affect the Impact Factor calculation. SAGE is on hand
to advise you on how to ensure that the ratio is optimized and that
Thomson Reuters (formerly ISI) is indexing your content appropriately.
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