April 25, 2016 | Felicity Davies, Product Data Analyst

Citations top tips


Would you like to increase the impact of your journal? Do you have a paper that you feel should be especially well-cited?  Here are some of the most popular ideas on how to achieve this:

For editors

The tips in this section are related to the curation of articles, and are intended to influence the number of citations on a journal scale. Remember that unethical practices should be avoided at all times.

  • Peer review

One of the best ways to ensure that your journal is making an impact, whether it be through citations or readers, is to make sure that you are publishing the very best work. One of the most vital aspects of an editor’s toolkit is their journal’s peer review process. The peer review process allows editors to identify articles that are, and are not, appropriate for inclusion in their journal, and also allows reviewers and editors to provide feedback on the work to improve the published article.

  • Consider open access

The majority of Taylor & Francis titles offer an open access option, or are open access. This allows authors to publish open access articles in traditionally closed access journals. Encouraging more open access articles through marketing campaigns or incentives can help to boost the visibility of your journal, as they offer the opportunity to reach a wider audience.

  • Publish on time

Discourage delays between acceptance and publication, ensure articles are sent to Taylor & Francis production quickly, and use ahead of print publication to ensure that published articles are still relevant. Timeliness of publication affects how long an article has to accrue citations before the impact factor is published, but it can also affect the morale and trust of a journal’s author-base, and the relevancy of its publications. For research into ebola or zika, time is of the essence, and publication delays could affect the lives of patients. In the arts, a current research trend might have passed by the time that your papers are publishing, meaning that fewer people read them, and they are less well-received.

  • Commission excellent reviews

If your journal has a reviews section, make sure that these are as good as they can be. Discuss with colleagues to identify topics of interest and commission respected researchers to write. If your journal does not have a reviews section, focus on ensuring that the original research that you publish is excellent. Keep an eye on the field to ensure that you are covering the most relevant and interesting topics for your community.

  • Identify zero-cited papers and highly-cited papers

Highly cited papers are great because they contribute to a journal’s impact factor, but they might also indicate where the strengths of the journal lie, along with articles with high usage counts or Altmetric scores. This might offer the opportunity to expand into other subject areas, as well as make it clear which papers readers are looking for when they come to the journal. Equally, papers without any citations or media attention might not be papers without impact, but your journal might not be where readers are looking when they are searching for content. Ways of combatting this might be to change which articles are accepted for publication, or publicizing the under-cited areas of the journal so that readers are more aware of them.

For authors

The following tips are designed to assist authors of individual papers to increase the citations to their work. 

  • Use your free eprints

Taylor & Francis provides authors with a number of copies of their article for free, called eprints. Authors may increase their chances of readers and citations by circulating these to key individuals who may be interested, such as authors cited in the article, and active researchers in the field. All named authors with email addresses get 50 free eprints (a good reason to fill in those submission fields accurately!) So, if four researchers collaborated on a paper, the article would be entitled to 200 eprints to share (50 free eprints for each author). That’s a lot of readers, and a lot of potential citations.

  • Promote your article on blogs and social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn

There is debate over the size of the direct effect that social media activity has on the citations of a manuscript; however, it is clear that promoting your work in a public sphere where others can amplify its presence and instigate discussion has significant potential, as the rise in popularity of altmetrics indicates. Papers that address areas of common human interest tend to be the ones that result in greater impact through social media.

Posting your papers and engaging in conversation about them may also help you build more rewarding and loyal relationships with readers and colleagues.

  • Make your article open access (OA)

Whilst the majority of journals are not fully open access, many are now “hybrid” (at Taylor & Francis this is referred to as “Open Select”). This offers the opportunity for authors to pay to have their paper published under an open access license in an otherwise subscription journal.

Free and open-access papers increase the readership of articles, yet, as with social media, the effect of open access on citations is the subject of much scholarly debate. However, the SPARC Open Access Citation Advantage project has, to date, summarized 70 studies, 46 of which found a positive correlation between citations and OA status, so there appears to be growing evidence supporting the idea that free access to research increases the number of citations.

In addition to gold open access, authors with Taylor & Francis can also choose to publish in a subscription journal and post their Accepted Manuscript on their departmental or personal website at any point after publication, as a form of green open access. More information can be found here.

  • Optimize article keywords, titles, and abstracts

Ensure your title contains the most important words that relate to the topic, and that these are repeated throughout the abstract in order to optimize its discoverability in search engines, databases, and repositories.

Keep your title as short as possible, and focus on describing the results rather than the methods, as studies such as this paper published in Clinics suggest that articles with short titles describing the results are cited more often.

Use established subject-specific and index-standardized terms which readers are likely to be searching for.

Consider using a site such as Kudos to provide a lay summary of your work, making it more accessible to a general audience.

  • Update your institutional or professional website with a link to your article

People whom you contact regularly, or those who visit your websites, are likely to be interested in your work. Linking directly to your article in these visible places will give this receptive audience information about your publications.

Published: April 25, 2016 | Author: Felicity Davies, Product Data Analyst | Category: Citations, impact and usage, Front page, News and ideas | Tagged with: