Increasing your citation count – a how-to guide
As a researcher there are a number of ways you can give your citation counts a boost, here are some suggestions.
Content is key
- Produce a piece of well written, top quality, original research. This is essential.
appropriate, acknowledge and cite your own previous work and that of
your research group. The bad press about ‘self-citation’ and ‘citation
circles’ applies only to the practice of citing irrelevant work; if your
own prior research is pertinent then cite it.
- If your research has involved a substantial literature review then
consider writing it up. Review papers typically attract more citations
than other types of paper – check out the numbers in Journal Citation Reports if you aren’t sure.
- Publish in the highest quality refereed journal that you can. You
probably know which journals are best regarded in your discipline, but
if you are branching out into a less familiar subject area then use Journal Citation Reports to check which journals have the highest impact factors or try one of the other tools for assessing journal quality. Don’t forget to ask your colleagues too.
- Speak at your discipline’s key conferences; exhibit or perform in
the ‘must see’ locations. Both of these are essential for increasing
your personal visibility and raising your research profile.
- Use a consistent form of your name (initials, forename and surname),
ideally throughout your career. Changing your name, for example upon
marriage, makes it much more difficult to track citations
- Consider using a researcher identifier. This is a good idea in principle and almost essential if your name is fairly common. ORCID is recommended, but other identifiers are available: ResearcherID, ISNI.
- Write with one or more co-authors. Not only do multiple authors
provide multiple opportunities for promoting the work, but also they are
more likely to cite the work. If your co-author already has a high
profile then early interest in the work is almost guaranteed; if the
collaboration is international then so much the better.
- Check the final proofs of your work to ensure your name and
affiliation are shown correctly. People often use institutional
affiliation to distinguish between authors of the same name (for example
in Web of Science) so make sure this is accurate.
- Always cite your own work correctly, even if others don’t. If you originally cite an ‘In press’ or ‘Online first’ item then if possible go back and update the citation to the final published version. It is better to use a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) to describe the location of your paper – even if the article is moved, the DOI will still find it.
- Make sure your work is correctly described in citation databases such as Web of Knowledge; if not then ask for it to be changed.
- Make your work open access so everyone can read it – there is plenty of evidence to suggest that open access papers are more highly cited.
Submit your paper to an OA journal or deposit a copy of the full text in
NECTAR. Ideally you should not sign away your copyright to a
publisher, but even if you do, it may be possible to upload a version of
your paper to the repository (two thirds of publishers allow some form
of ‘self-archiving’ (Sherpa RoMEO)).
- Use appropriate metadata to make it more discoverable (e.g. key
words and phrases, abstract, subject descriptors) – again, NECTAR can
help with this.
- When your work is published, tell everyone – not only your
specialist research community, but also your colleagues down the
corridor. Even a coffee shop conversation can raise awareness of your
work and result in a potential citation.
- Make use of social media – blog about it, tweet about it, bookmark
it, link to it from your Facebook page, share it via your preferred
online networking tool (academia.edu, ResearchGate, Mendeley etc.) (See what happened when Melissa Terras tried this approach.)
- Link to it from your personal or research group web pages.
- Promote your project findings on your disciplinary noticeboards and mailing lists (with links to the published work).
Thanks to Lizzie Gadd of Loughborough University for providing some initial ideas for this post.
Image credit: Heppdesigns
Increasing your citation count – a how-to guide | Research Support Hub