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Citation Best Practices

These tips are designed to help bring visibility to your published work



Use a unique name consistently throughout your career
Be consistent with your name when submitting research. If you have quite a common name, consider including your full middle name in publications.

Use a standardized institutional affiliation and address, using no abbreviations
Include your institution, college, department, and zip code in the contact information when you submit papers for publication. Providing accurate contact details are essential so that researchers can contact you directly for queries, further information and discussions about the publication. This information also helps departments, colleges, and accrediting bodies accurately track publications.

Keywords and phrases:

Repeat key phrases in the abstract 
Make some key phrases of your study and repeat them in the abstract page of your paper. Since search engines and citation trackers search the abstract of your article, the repetition of keywords increases the chance of your paper being retrieved more easily.

Assign keyword terms to the manuscript
In an age of search engines and academic database searching, keywords in your publications are critical. Keywords and phrases in the paper’s title and abstract are also useful for search purposes. Using keywords in the URL of scientific web pages can also help readers easily determine the subject matter of the paper.

Make a unique phrase that reflects your research interest and use it throughout your career
Add the unique phrase to all publications and use it consistently.

Picking the right journal:

High impact factor journals
The most effective strategy to increase citation rates is publishing in a journal with higher impact factor. Journals that focus on web site optimization may enhance your citations indirectly. Submitting a paper to a special issue of a journal increases the likelihood that others in your field will read it.

Make your research easy to find, especially for online searchers – Open Access
Research suggests that there is a correlation between the number of downloads an article has and citations. Free access invites greater engagement with research through citations. To make your papers more accessible, consider publishing in an open access journal (see the Directory of Open Access Journals for a list of journals that observe OASPA’s principles of transparency and best practices in scholarly publishing). Alternatively, deposit your paper in open access repositories, like the WSU Research Exchange, or see re3data to search for a list of open access data repositories.

Publish your article in one of the journals everyone in your discipline reads
Choosing a journal that matches with a researcher’s field of study is very important because it makes it more likely that the article receives more citations. A journal which covers a broad range of disciplines may be the best. Publishing across disciplines has been found to increase citations.

Publish your work in a journal with the highest number of abstracting and indexing services
Citation potential increases by attributing to the high visibility of scientific materials. Therefore, a journal with the highest number of abstracting and indexing in different databases can be a good target.  Indexed journals are considered to be of higher scientific quality as compared to non-indexed journals.

Present a working or tutorial paper
Go to a conference and present some parts of your research or publish working papers. Working papers are freely available before and after the articles are published. Researchers may upload their working papers to their personal websites or more open access repositories such as arXivSSRN, or the WSU Research Exchange.  Tutorial papers are “a paper that organizes and introduces work in the field. A tutorial paper assumes its audience is inexpert; it emphasizes the basic concepts of the field and provides concrete examples that embody these concepts”. These papers tend to have a higher number of citations.

Write a review paper
Authors seeking to be well cited should aim to write comprehensive and substantial review articles, and submit them to journals that carry previous articles on the topic.

Papers published after having first been rejected elsewhere receive significantly more citations
Resubmissions from other journals typically receive significantly more citations than first-intent submissions.

Paper characteristics/types:

Use more references
There is a strong relationship between the number of citations a paper receives and the number of its references.

Papers with a larger number of “callouts” can be more likely to receive a higher number of citations
A “callout” is a phrase or sentence from the paper that is displayed in a different font, somewhere in the paper. Also, longer papers have been shown to gather more citations.

Your papers title is very important
Evidence shows that articles with short, concise, succinct and informative titles describing the results or conclusions generally have more impact and citations. Articles with question-type titles tend to be downloaded more, but cited less, than others.

Choosing collaborators:

Publish with international authors
Citation analysis shows that papers with international co-authors are cited up to four times more often than those without.

Team-authored articles get cited more
Team-authored articles typically produce more frequently cited research than do papers authored by individuals. Typically, highly cited articles are authored by a large number of scientists.

Publish papers with ‘big names’ in your field
Some landmark papers of Nobel laureates, for example, quite quickly give their authors a sudden boost in citation rate and this boost extends to the author’s earlier papers too – even if they were in unrelated areas.

Publicize yourself!:

Claim and use an ORCID ID
An ORCID is a unique identifier that you can register for at no cost. Publishers, funders, and universities are increasingly using them because they help distinguish researchers with similar names. For convenience, you can now sign in to your ORCID account using your WSU credentials. After claiming your ORCID, navigate to the ORCID sign in page, click on the “Institutional account” tab, and select WSU as your institution. For other questions about ORCIDs, see this guide and list of FAQs.

Present at conferences 
Present preliminary research at conferences and consider making posters, figures, and slides available in FigShareSlideShare, or WSU’s digital repository, Research Exchange. Contact for more information about Research Exchange or see these Research Exchange FAQs.

Create and curate your Google Scholar profile and make an online CV 
Keep a scholarly profile up to date in Google Scholar or other venues for increased visibility.  An online CV makes a link between the list of published papers and open access versions of relevant articles and increases researchers’ output visibility to the academic community.  Include your ORCID in your CV.

Keep your professional web pages and published lists up to date, issue press releases, and self-archive articles
Establish an online presence for your research—create a website that describes findings and links to slides, figures, abstracts, and progress reports. Issue press releases with significant findings. Maximize the visibility of your research by making copies of your articles available online.

Be ready to react
Once your study has been accepted for publicity, be prepared to provide a quote for the press release and, once it’s been sent out, be available for interviews (these can often be done by email rather than over the phone).  Always reply promptly to requests for interviews or further information from your press office.  Journalists are on tight deadlines and may drop the story if they don’t hear back within a few hours.

Contribute to Wikipedia
Try to contribute in Wikipedia. As a good example, one paper that was used as a reference in defining virtual teams in Wikipedia has received significant citations in comparison to the rest of the articles from the same author.

Start blogging/tweeting
Leverage social media by starting a blog or tweeting about your research. Remember to include Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) in your tweets and posts. DOIs are typically assigned by publishers to published articles; they are persistent links to your work online and they help others find your research. Note that WSU Libraries can now mint a DOI for you at no cost, should you wish to add it to a dataset or other research material that doesn’t receive one from a publisher.

Join academic social networking sites
Increasing the availability of articles through social networking sites broadens dissemination, increases use, and enhances professional visibility which lead to increased citations and usage. CiteulikeResearchGate and Linkedin are just a few examples of knowledge sharing tools to make others aware of research articles that may be of relevance to authors and hence get cited.

Link your latest published article, and list your ORCID, in your email signature
A great way to spread researchers’ outputs and get extra attention of email recipient is to add a link to the latest publication. This little section of contact information provides a good platform for publication marketing.  Include your ORCID in your signature line as well.

Cite others… and yourself
Do not forget to cite your colleague’s researches in areas that are relevant – sometimes called “colleague for colleague citation”.  It is also fine to cite your own work where relevant on a new manuscript.

Create a podcast describing the research project
Research is not just text and figures. Create a podcast describing the research project and submit the podcast to YouTube or Vimeo. Video is an increasingly important way for researchers to communicate their results and welcome submissions of podcasts from authors and editors.

Set up citation alerts
Awareness of who has referred to your articles can expand further collaborations.

Use “Enhancing Visibility and Impact” tools, such as these
Familiarity with academic advertisement tools allows the researcher to increase his/her h-indexin the short term. A person with high levels of h-index has higher quality publications with high amount of citations.

Information on this page taken from the following: