How to Increase Your Citation Rates in 10 Easy Steps (part 2)

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In part 1 of “How to Increase Your Citation Rates”, recommendations were made relating to publishing all that you can, writing a review paper, and investigating where to publish, along with the specifics as to determining a journal’s review and publication cycles. Five additional suggestions are provided below:

1. Use Open Repositories

An open repository is typically a publicly-accessible Internet site that provides a no cost version of the finalized text, images, and tables of published journal papers from individuals affiliated with the hosting body. Most commonly this is a university or group of universities. Due to copyright issues, papers are often not in their typeset format. This will depend upon the publisher. There may also be an enforced waiting period of 12-24 months. The administrator of the open repository can usually advise as to the requirements. Despite these modifications, your research will be freely available to anyone with internet access. Many funding agencies, especially in the health sciences are now requiring that all published output that was generated from their funds is publicly available in some type of no cost format. If your institution does not have an open repository, there are other options such as ResearchGate (, which promotes itself as a social networking site for scientists and researchers to share papers, ask and answer questions, and find collaborators. Participating will also enable others to contact you about your papers. Another option is to simply post your cv on-line with hyper-links to non-copyright protected versions or with an email address where researchers may request a version directly from you.

2. Get full credit for your papers and your citations

Due to publisher requirements, the exact format of your name may not appear consistently on all of your publications (e.g. Debra Laefer, Debra F. Laefer, D Laefer, DF Laefer) This may cause confusion for organizations and algorithms that compile citation statistics. There will be an even greater chance that you will not be credited with all of the papers you have written, to say nothing of the affiliated citations, if you have changed your name, changed organizational affiliation, or have a common name (e.g. Brian Smith). One way to minimize this is to consciously select a name under which you will publish and stick to it. If you have a common name, this may mean including a middle initial or name that you do not usually use. If you changed your name, this may mea continuing to publish under your maiden name, even if it is no longer your legal name.

Another way to help the situation is to set up a profile on Google scholar ( The system will also allow you to identify where versions of your paper may appear with slightly different titles, even though there is only one publication. This often happens when a title has a hyphenated word or an author’s name is easily misspelled. Google scholar also gives you an instantaneous way to check your citations. Finally this will assist other scholars looking for one of your publications to quickly check if there is related work that you have published that may also be of interest to them.

3. Publish Your Data Sets

Archiving one’s data sets is simply good practice. Think of it as using cloud computing to the “nth” degree. Datacite and similar organizations can assign a unique digital object identifier to the data. This allows you to increase your research profile and to have something else with which to collect citations. Because of the high cost of data collection, it also provides an opportunity to develop a reputation for high quality data generation, even if others do not agree with your processing or interpretation methods.

4. Let Others Know What You Are Doing

In some fields and at some institutions, sending out press releases is common practice. Even if this is not the case at your current organization, there is nothing preventing you from doing this (however you should probably check with your institution’s press office to see if their approval is needed for such things). Often such notifications lead to small articles in science sections of local and national newspapers or specialty trade publications. Another option is to send your articles to colleagues and researchers in the area. Being an academic is not for the faint of heart or the shy of spirit. Success requires at least some level of self-promotion. So when you have published something of which you are proud, let others know. Send a copy to the top 5 or 10 academics in the area. Perhaps they will ignore your overture, but perhaps not. With email and electronic versions of the paper, all it costs is 15 minutes of your time and setting aside any misgivings. The rewards could be fantastic including being asked to give a guest lecture or to serve as a collaborator. It might even lead to your next job offer. In short, there is simply nothing to lose. 

5. When Appropriate, Cite Yourself

No journal reviewer likes to see a manuscript dominated by self-citations, but if you have done previous work in the area in which you are writing, do not exclude your own contributions from literature review, as well as anything needed in the methodology or comparative results section. As a rule of thumb, limit self-citation to a maximum of three references and only include journal papers.

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