The success of one’s career in academia is measured in a variety of ways: tenure, research accomplishments, awards and recognitions, and so on. Getting your work published is one of the indicators of the state of your academic career.
However, it’s not just about getting your research published. It’s also how often you get published and how many citations your work generates. The former indicates how active you are as an academic; the latter – the reach and impact of your work.
While many disagree with the idea of placing any significance on the citation count, it does remain the reality that academics have to deal with. That’s why today, we’ll run you through a few easy methods to maximize the reach of your work and, thus, increase its citation count.
- Cite your past work
Let’s start with the obvious one: when relevant, cite your own work. If you’ve been in academia for a while, chances are that there is at least one research article in your portfolio that you can cite in your new manuscript. However, do not compromise the integrity of your work by citing irrelevant work just to get the citation number up.
- Get social
Digital sociologist from the University of Cambridge Mark Carrigan argues that researchers need to get over their aversion to social media platforms – be it ResearchGate, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or others – and get social.
While many researchers shy away from the idea of openly sharing their research findings – or parts of it – before getting published, analysis shows that published work that was posted as “preprints” prior to getting published generates more citations and mentions.
By sharing parts of your work via social media, you are generating a buzz, a conversation. You create engagement that will benefit your work once it’s published.
Plus, don’t forget that those social media posts will live on the internet for as long as you keep them up, meaning when someone comes across it one, five, or ten years from now, they will be more likely to use your research as a citation due to all the engagement it generated.
- Think through the keywords
When it comes to keywords, you want to be thorough and strategic. Think of the fields your fellow academics would work at to find your work relevant. Think of the topics they’d be interested in that’s relevant to your manuscript. Make sure that every keyword is actually relevant as opposed to trying to add every keyword you can think of.
- If possible, don’t mention a country in the title
Same applies to keywords and abstracts. These are the first things that one sees when coming across your work. Many will consider your research to be too specific and will move on to the next research paper.
- Promote your work at conferences
Whether you speak at events or join as an attendee, promote your work. As a speaker, most conference organizers will automatically send out the link to your work to the attendees. Some will publish or index your work.
However, you don’t have to be a speaker to get your paper out there. Actively network during events in your field. Talk to your peers and send them links to your work. Talk to event organizers and inquire about the type of support they can offer you in promoting your work. You will be surprised how willing many organizers will be to help if you just ask.
- Make your papers easy to find
There are a ton of things you can do to make your work easier to find:
- Create a website or a single page that briefly explains what your work is about, and list all of your published work with links to where it can be accessed.
- Create YouTube videos, Slideshare presentations, and blog articles explaining the significance and relevance of your work.
- Ask your colleagues to share your work with their network. Of course, you must be ready to return the favor.
- Connect with the researchers who you’ve cited in your work and send them reprints.
- Submit overviews of your work to relevant industry publications. Explore guest blogging opportunities with relevant online publications.
- Make your work easy to access
You can, of course, go the open-access route and publish your work in one of the open-access journals. Research suggests that articles published in open-access journals get more traffic and citations.
However, even if you decide against publishing in an open-access academic journal, you can post your pre- and/or post-publications prints to academic databases and repositories, linking it back to the full publication.
- Keep your title short
A 2014 study found that the style of a paper’s title has a direct impact on its likelihood of getting cited. Keep it short and to the point. Within just a few seconds of glancing at it, one should be able to get a clear idea of what the research article is about without having to make sense of all the punctuation, sub-titles, dependent clauses, etc.
The more succinct your title is, the more likely you are to maintain the attention of a user who comes across your research.
- Cite others
While the world of academia is vast, the academic community can often feel small, especially when it comes to very narrow fields.
Be generous in your citations. Don’t be afraid to cite those whose findings contradict yours. Stay up to date on who is who in your field.
Be an active contributor in your network and you are more likely to attract the same attention from others.