August 6, 2018 | Rachel Winfield, Communications Executive

Ask the Experts: How to develop high impact content

Advice from our journal editors on how to develop high-impact content


Do you want to develop more high impact content in your journal? Do you need advice on how to write a development plan? Maybe you’re interested in experimenting with new formats, but don’t know where to start?

Don’t worry if you missed the content development session at our recent Scholarly Summit or the #TFContentTips Twitter chat we hosted on @TandFEditors – we’ve got you covered with expert advice from journal editors and T&F’s in-house specialists. Keep reading to find out their tips for content development.

Content Development panellistsWhat is 'high impact' content?

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‘High impact’ content means something different in every subject area, and for every journal. There are different metrics available to assess impact (such as Altmetrics, citations and downloads) but ultimately, it’s about your voice within the community.

Ask yourself:

  • Has your research inspired further study?
  • Does it get picked up by the media?
  • Has it reached decision makers or affected policy?
  • Is it being used in the classroom?

How to approach content development

RoutledgeGPU Twitter screenshot1The foundation of effective content development is creating a strategic plan, informed by detailed data analysis and research. Use a range of research metrics and sources to gain an understanding of your journal’s performance and standing in its field.

It’s important to consider several key questions:

  • Who are your authors and readers?
  • Who is citing your journal?
  • How do authors perceive your journal?
  • What are the ‘hot topics’ in your field?
  • Who are the key opinion leaders in your field? What are they saying?
  • What differentiates your journal from the competition?

Reach out to your Editorial Board and speak to your Managing Editor at Taylor & Francis for their insights and support. Consider a range of metrics, from Impact Factor to Altmetrics, to get a holistic view of how your title is currently performing.

Once you’ve assessed the current standing of your journal and the field, then look to the future:

  • What is the journal missing?
  • Where do you want the journal to go?
  • What are your key priorities?

Use your research to set SMART objectives. Decide on clear actions, identify who needs to be involved, and set specific deadlines and targets to work towards.

Case studies and advice from our Editors

How to develop a high impact special issue

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Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal regularly uses special issues to explore hot topics, publishing approximately two themed issues every year. A good editor knows what issues are trending now, but a great editor can predict what the next hot topic is.

Here are Thomas’s tips on how to develop a special issue with impact:

  • Place a prominent, informative call for papers the top of the journal’s homepage
  • Be proactive in contacting high-impact authors, instead of waiting for them to come to you
  • Use relevant workshops, society events, and academic conferences as opportunities to advertise your journal and solicit submissions
  • Rely on your editorial team and board to encourage international submissions using their professional networks

How to develop content for practitioners

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Cities & Health experiments with different content formats to cater to its different audiences. The journal speaks to both academics and practitioners, so it’s essential that the content appeals to this wide-ranging demographic.

For example, Cities & Health recently appointed two image advisors to develop visual content, which is attractive to the journal’s key practitioner audience of built environment designers. Cities & Health also publishes one-page summaries using accessible language, so that practitioners can easily understand the outcomes and implications of academic research.

By developing new content formats focused on research impact, Cities & Health has set itself apart from its competitors and created a unique identity, which is attractive to authors and readers alike.


For more advice from our experts on developing high impact content, browse the #TFContentTips Twitter moment.

Published: August 6, 2018 | Author: Rachel Winfield, Communications Executive | Category: Managing my journal, News and ideas |