The number of papers you publish is important to your career. “Publish early and often” is heard over and over again in research. However, the number of times your work is cited is important as well because it can indicate the impact that your research has on the field.


1.Cite, and You will be Cited.

For a well-cited paper, just add references. A long reference list at the end of a research paper may be the key to ensuring that it is well cited, according to an analysis of 100 years’ worth of papers published in the journal Science.

  • Cite your colleagues, including those with results contrary to yours.
  • Cite your own relevant work (no more than 20% of the citations should be of your own work).
  • Read broadly to stay up to date in parallel fields, and cite pertinent papers.
  • Cite the leaders in your field.

2. Carefully choose your keywords and the title.

Choose keywords that researchers in your field will be searching for so that your paper will appear in a database search. Papers that ask a question in the title have lower citation rates. Titles that have colons (:) in the title have higher citation rates.

3. Use your keywords and phrases in your title and repeatedly in your abstract.

Repeating keywords and phrases will increase the likelihood your paper will be at the top of a search engine list, making it more likely to be read.

4. Use a consistent form of your name on all of your papers.

Using the same name on all of your papers will make it easier for others to find all of your published work. If your name is very common, consider getting a research identifier, such as an ORCID. You can provide your ORCID in your email signature and link that ID to your publication list so that anyone you email has access to your publications.

5. Open Access increases citation rate.

Make your work open access so everyone can read it. Free access increases citation rates, searching online is more efficient and following hyperlinks quickly leads researchers to their prevailing opinion. If your paper is not published in an open-access conference publications or a journal, post your pre- or post-publication prints to an open repositories (check with the publisher).

6. Share your data.

There is some evidence that sharing your data can increase your citations. Consider posting to data sharing websites, or contributing to Wikipedia and providing links to your published manuscripts. Send reprints to scientists you have cited or to those you feel may find your research or even the background of your work interesting.

7. Present your work at conferences.

This will make your research more visible to the academic and research communities.

8. Use social media.

  • Provide links to your papers on social media and your university profile page.
  • Create a Facebook page for your department or laboratory to encourage casual discussion of your recent papers/presentations.
  • Open a Twitter account, and tweet when your paper has been accepted for publication.
  • Use a ResearchGate account to distribute your papers and follow others in your field.
  • Use a LinkedIn account to connect with other researchers in your field throughout the world, post about the conferences you attend, papers you find interesting, ask questions, list your publications, and participate in conversations. Join pertinent discussion groups and participate to demonstrate your knowledge of the field.
  • Use a blog tied to your website to engage in discussions relevant to your work.

9. Write review papers.

Review papers are more likely to be cited. Try to write the first review papers in particular areas as everyone then has to cite them! Some types of outputs (especially those that don’t have an abstract) are usually poorly cited (e.g., editorials, letters to editors).

10. Submit to special issues of journals.

Submitting a paper to a special issue of a journal increases the likelihood that others in your field will read it (as it will have more visibility). Papers will not be cited if they are not read in the first place!

11. Publish collaboratively and where possible with international teams.

Research has consistently shown that working with others collaboratively (i.e., team-authored papers) and in an international context has been shown to significantly increase citation counts.


If you disagree with any of these suggestions then please do post a comment, if you can think of others, then do likewise.


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