Increasing Citations and Improving Your Impact Factor
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 ISI’s 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 maximising citations to the articles they publish
without ever trying to ‘game’ the system, which can only compromise
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
When evaluating strategies to increase the citation performance of your journal, it is useful to consider:
- Commission papers from highly-cited authors
Analysis of the most highly cited content from both your own and
competitor journals reveals the most highly-cited authors who could be
invited back or newly commissioned to publish in the journal or to
perhaps edit a future special issue.
- 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 papers may never be cited at all. Review what topics
do not attract citations and use this information to feed into your
publishing strategy. NB 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 not cited does not mean not
read. Strike a balance between maximising citations and serving your
- Review articles
Comprehensive review articles are likely to attract a high number of
readers and citations. Active commissioning 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 the 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 with
Publishing accepted articles online prior to print and electronic
publication in the journal issue means that they can be cited earlier.
- 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
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!
- Media promotion
A SAGE Article Press Release scheme 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 Editor for more
information. Find out about other ways you can promote your journal here.
- 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 optimised and that ISI is indexing
your content appropriately.