Increase your research impact

Research Support

In the academic world, research impact is very important.

Research impact is taken into account when research groups are being evaluated formally by the Standard Evaluation Protocols (SEP), but also when your own your academic work or career is being evaluated for funding, promotion or appointments.

Researchers use different strategies to improve their (potential) research impact in all phases of the publishing process. They may be applied during the preprint phase (while planning, writing and choosing journals to publish in), but also in the post-print phase (after the article or study is published), and both are important.

Research Impact subject guide

 

1.Pre-print phase #

In the pre-print phase you may think about:

  • Research topics with a high potential academic and/or societal relevance, and if a literature review is needed to prove the relevance, get your research proposal approved, and/or ensure research funding or grants.
       
  • Publishing a review as an independent publication, even if it forms part of a planned follow up article or study. You can earn double credits when the follow up gets published as well.
       
  • Choosing peer-reviewed journals with a high Journal Impact Factor (JIF) to increase the likelihood to get cited
  • Alternative and/or parallel publishing channels, such as:
    • A pre-print service to generate feedback and interest in your publication (e.g. arXiv.org e-print service at Cornell and not peer-reviewed in the traditional sense)
    • OA journals, when institutional publishing policy demands so, accruing article citations more quickly or when speed of dissemination is of importance
    • Read more …. Alternative publishing channels 
         

Optimising your articles for search-engines (SEO)

Although search engine optimisation (SEO) is usually associated with websites and webpages, scientific articles can be optimised as well

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Last updated on Monday 4 September 2017

2.Post-print phase #

Writing and publishing your scholarly article is not the final step. To maximise your research impact you must inform everyone in your academic and social networks about it as well. Strategies to use in the post-print phase:

  • Use social media to discuss your article or study, focussing on special interest groups
  • Share links to your abstract or publication on Academia.edu, LinkedIn, on your website, your academic institution’s profile page, Facebook, Twitter, etc.
  • When publisher policy permits, post your article/study (or author version) to:
  • Post your datasets to platforms for registration and storage of datasets, such as the Dutch Dataverse Network (DDN) – see also Research Data Management
  • Create researcher IDs on platforms such as ResearcherID, ScopusID, and ORCID to ensure an unambiguous author identification to which published articles or studies are linked.

For a complete overview – and very practical guide – on how to use these strategies and tools, see The 30-Day Impact Challenge: the ultimate guide to raising the profile of your research. By Stacy Konkiel

A very nice ‘libguide’ about Visibility and Research Impact – although tailored to University of Utrecht – is: http://libguides.library.uu.nl/researchimpact

Tools and major data sources with which to track your own research impact can be found in the: “Guidelines for Good Evaluation Practice with the ACUMEN Portfolio

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Last updated on Monday 4 September 2017

3.Journal Impact Factor - JIF #

A traditional indicator to choose a journal to publish your article is the Journal Impact Factor (JIF).

A number indicating the average amount of times articles from the journal are cited in a specified period of time. The higher the Impact Factor of a Journal, the bigger the chance that your article will be read and/or cited. When there is a choice between different journals to publish in, you may choose the journal with the higher Journal Impact Factor.

Although this reasoning seems sound, keep in mind that:

  • The JIF is based on the arithmetic mean number of citations per paper, yet citation counts follow a Bradford distribution (i.e., a power law distribution). Therefore the arithmetic mean is a statistically inappropriate measure to express the importance of any one publication, and will be different from, and in most cases less than, the overall number
  • Journal ranking lists can differ considerably from JIF-rankings when other impact measures are used, such as the ‘Eigenfactor’ score, the ‘SJR indicator’, or when based upon expert opinion
  • The strength of the relationship between impact factors of journals and the citation rates of the papers therein is steadily decreasing since articles began to be available digitally
  • A journal can adopt editorial policies to increase its impact factor, and
  • that the JIF should not be the only factor to influence your journal choice – see Alternative publishing channels

A means to identify Journal Impact factors are the Journal Citation Reports® (JCR); published annually by Thomsom Reuters in two editions:

  • the Science Edition (about more than 8,000 journals in science and technology)
  • the Social Sciences Edition (more than 2,600 journals in the social sciences)

Impact factors for journals in the Arts and Humanities are NOT available.

Learn how to use …. or go to the Journal Citation Reports®

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Last updated on Monday 4 September 2017

4.Alternative publishing channels #

Because it can take a long time before an article is published or accrues any citations, a lot of researchers choose alternative and/or parallel publishing channels, such as:

  • Open-Access (OA) Journals, that make its articles available immediately upon publication, conduct peer review and allow authors to retain their copyright.
  • Hybrid Journals – i.e. traditional, subscription-based journals who make articles immediately available to the public if the author pays an additional open-access fee.
  • Open-Access archives or repositories, such as: 
    • A pre-print service (e.g. arXiv.org e-print service at Cornell and not peer-reviewed in the traditional sense) 
    • A subject repository (e.g. SSRN, RePEC, PubMed Central) or 
    • An institutional repository, such as UM Publications (a post-print service for already published articles so that this research becomes widely available and discoverable via tools like Google)

Other factors to consider – next to the speed of dissemination – when choosing a journal are:

  • Institutional self-archiving policy to store and disseminate articles and other publications through the institutional repository
  • The publisher’s copyright policy and business model (see below: SHERPA/RoMEO)
  • The author or article processing charges of the journal (see below: SHERPA/RoMEO)

Knowing that citation databases, such as the Web of Science or Scopus, are (and will be) used to determine research impact a lot of researchers choose OA Journals which are also indexed in citation databases, i.e. those established long enough to have an impact factor or otherwise qualified for inclusion.

Where to find OA Journals and publisher policies?

  • Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ): Lists more than 10.000 journals available as open access.
  • SHERPA/RoMEO: This directory lists publisher copyright and self-archiving policies. Listings also indicate whether or not the publisher has a “paid access” option with direct links to the specific publisher policies on paid access. See also the UM Copyright information point for some guidance on copyright issues before and after publishing.

Open access articles can also often be found with a web search, using any general search engine or those specialised for the scholarly and scientific literature, such as OAIster and Google Scholar.

OA Journals with a Journal Impact Factor in a specified discipline can be found by using the Web of Science.

Many funding agencies support open access. For a list of research funders’ open access policies, consult SHERPA/Juliet.

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Last updated on Monday 4 September 2017

5.Subject or institutional repositories #

An easy way to maximise the exposure of published articles, books or book chapters, and get citations, is to post them to subject or institutional repositories. Such as:

  • A pre-print service (e.g. arXiv.org e-print service at Cornell and not peer-reviewed in the traditional sense)
  • A subject repository (e.g. SSRN, RePEC, PubMed Central) or
  • An institutional repository, such as UM Publications (a post-print service for already published articles so that this research becomes widely available and discoverable via tools like Google)

By posting your publication to repositories it becomes widely available and discoverable via tools like Google and Google Scholar.

To prevent copyright issues when uploading or posting articles to subject or institutional repositories, or to pre-print services, check:

  • Your publisher’s copyright transfer agreement or licence
  • SHERPA/RoMEO: This directory lists publisher copyright and self-archiving policies. Listings also indicate whether or not the publisher has a “paid access” option with direct links to the specific publisher policies on paid access.
  • The UM Copyright information point for guidance on copyright issues before and after publishing.
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Last updated on Monday 4 September 2017

6.Optimising articles for search-engines (SEO) #

Although search engine optimisation (SEO) is usually associated with websites and webpages, scientific articles can be optimised as well (ASEO; Academic Search Engine Optimisation).

Not only to ensure that articles are found (crawled) and indexed, but also to influence the position where the articles are displayed in the results list. Just like any other type of ranked search results, articles displayed in top positions are more likely to be read and cited.

Academic Search Engine Optimization (ASEO) differs in some significant respects from SEO. For an older article discussing these differences and which provides the arguments for a lot of ASEO publisher guidelines, see: Joeran Beel, Bela Gipp, and Erik Wilde. Academic Search Engine Optimization (ASEO): Optimizing Scholarly Literature for Google Scholar and Co. Journal of Scholarly Publishing, 41 (2): 176–190, January 2010. doi: 10.3138/jsp.41.2.176. University of Toronto Press. 

Publisher guidelines for optimising scientific articles

Elsevier:

Sage:

Wiley:

For a blog, discussing the:

  • ill-advice in the publisher guidelines on using Google Trends or Google Adwords to find the right keywords,
  • to use keyword systems, ontologies or thesauri from your subject areas instead, and
  • practical problems in need to be solved before PDFs can be optimised for search engines more effectively, see: blog

On what Google has to say about how PDFs are handled in a search, see: PDFs in Google search results.

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Last updated on Monday 4 September 2017
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Contact & Support

For questions or information, use the web form to contact a subject specialist.

 

Contact a research impact specialist

For any question regarding research exposure and impact, please use the web form to contact information specialist Jos Franssen (85105).

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