Top 10 tips for optimising citations
a paper that you feel should be especially well-cited? Here are some
of the most popular ideas on how to achieve this:
For editorsThe 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.
1. Publish review articlesThomson Reuters states on its Web of Science information page that “Review articles generally are cited more frequently than typical research articles.”
Surprisingly, there is little official research on this phenomenon,
though anecdotal evidence confirms this in most instances. Researchers
are encouraged to cite review articles to support broad topics or ideas,
as this editorial in Nature “On citing well” explains.
Journals which do not already receive regular review article
submissions may wish to promote open calls for review articles to
encourage submissions of such papers, or even appoint a specific review
article editor to curate this section.
2. Publish special issues on “hot topics” with renowned authorsIn a similar way to review articles, special issues
cover a lot of detail around a specific topic, making them a valuable
resource for other researchers in the field, and are therefore highly
likely to be cited. The attraction for readers may be increased if these
issues involve high-profile authors whose work people are especially
interested in. Special issues may involve an overlap with other research
fields, and bring new authors to the journal, broadening the audience
and increasing the range of citation sources.
There is also the opportunity to increase promotional activity around
special issues, which may help to raise awareness, not just of that
particular issue but of the whole journal as well.
3. Publish the best papers early in the year or ahead of printThis Impact-Factor specific suggestion is based on the Thomson
Reuters calculations for Impact Factors, which count the article
publication date as the volume in which it is finally assigned.
Therefore papers published in advance of an issue have a longer
time-frame to contribute citations to an Impact Factor than if they were
held offline waiting for the issue.
Similarly, selecting articles with the most potential to be highly
cited for the first issues of the year maximizes their time in the
two-year Impact Factor window.
4. Make highly cited papers or most read papers free to accessThis initiative will increase a paper’s readership and help enhance
its profile, as it will be easier to circulate around social media, and
interested readers will encounter no paywalls. As discussed in the
previous points regarding social media and open access, both of these
factor in higher rates of citations.
5. Identify papers earlyHighlighting potentially citable papers as early in the peer-review
process as possible can enable the journal’s editorial, marketing, and
production teams to anticipate the creation of promotional materials
such as press releases, and prepare a schedule of events with plenty of
time before the article is published.
For authorsThe following tips are designed to assist authors of individual papers to increase the citations to their work.
6. Use your free eprintsTaylor & 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.
7. Promote your article on blogs, social media sites such asThere is debate over the size of the direct effect that social media
Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and academic networks such as ResearchGate
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 Altmetric impact measurements 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
In favor of the effects of social media, an article in the Journal of Digital Humanities, titled “The impact of social media on the dissemination of research: results of an experiment”
by Melissa Terras highlights what can happen when you promote an
article on social media sites, particularly when the paper is open
8. Make your article open access (OA)It is well known that 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.
9. Optimize article keywords, titles, and abstractsEnsure 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
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.
As a final test, try searching for your keywords in a search engine
to see whether they provide results matching the subject of your paper.
10. Update your institutional or professional website with a link to your articlePeople 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.
Journals Development Editor
| Category: Citations, impact and usage, Front page, News and ideas |
Tagged with: Citations • impact • Social media
Top 10 tips for optimising citations | Editor Resources