How can you increase the visibility of your scholarly publications? This is a pressing question for graduate students who face an extremely competitive job market but are new to the publishing game. It is also important for faculty developing promotion and tenure dossiers or just interested in assessing how other scholars find their work useful. Undergraduates who want to publish their research, either to increase their prospects of admission to graduate school or just to have a great item on their job resume, should also learn about these issues.
The library offers a new guide, “Enhancing Research Impact,” that can help. The guide addresses questions you might want to consider both before and after you publish your work.
Before you publish, one question to ask is where should you submit your work? For example, what metrics are available to assess the relative rankings of journals? While journal rank can be important, are there lower-impact journals that will increase your chances of acceptance and at the same time that publish papers in your niche area that get heavily cited? Aside from considering where to publish, how can you write your paper in a way that increases its discoverability, e.g. by using appropriate keywords? What rights does a journal give you to post an open access (freely accessible) pre-print or post-print version of your paper if the journal itself is not already open access? Does the ease of access to an open-access journal provide visibility that you might not get from a higher ranked journal that has an access “pay wall”? Will making your data openly accessible provide a citation advantage? If so, what subject data repositories are available, and what can you say about them when applying for grants that require a data management plan?
After you publish, as above, can you make a version of your paper open access on an appropriate article repository? What academic and social media networking sites are available, and how can you profile your work by using a “researcher identifier”? What databases allow you to create email alerts when someone cites your work? Finally, how can you measure the overall impact of your work? If you have written a book, how can you assess its impact?
Some of these questions have ready answers, while answers to others require judgment borne of experience. The new library guide, which will evolve over time, provides you with a starting point for answering questions like those above and questions you can pose to colleagues or faculty mentors.
Developing savvy in all these areas becomes increasingly important as the number of scholarly publications mounts at a bewildering pace. For example, with respect to the sciences, a Nature “newsblog” posting reported in 2014 that “Global scientific output doubles every nine years“.
This new guide appears with the many subject and class guides available on Lehigh’s library homepage. If you have any questions about increasing your research impact, please contact your subject librarian.