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Research Analytics: Attracting citations

How to use publishing and citation data to evidence your strengths, develop your publishing strategy and make connections

Why?

Citations to research publications are often used as an indicator of research quality. This makes them important for both your research career and for the University. Follow these good practice suggestions to help your publications attract citations. 

Writing for publication

Writing well helps readers find your publication, recognise the quality of your research and see how it is relevant to their needs. The title and abstract are particularly important for this. Optimise for both search engines and human readers. Ask colleagues for feedback.

  • Clearly describes the substance of the work: what is your argument? What have you found out?
  • Includes the most important keywords for your research: search engines give most weight to publication titles.
  • Short, with the most important keywords near the beginning. If a list of search results shows only the beginning of the title, will readers still be able to see the relevance of your work?
  • Avoid beginning with literary/pop-culture allusions or puns (e.g. 'To be or not to be'). These don't tell the reader or search engines what your research is about.
  • Accurately summarise the publication, clearly setting out the significance, originality and rigour of your research.
  • Rich in strong keywords. What keywords and phrases will readers interested in your research use to search?
  • If your research is relevant to more than one discipline, make sure you cover the vocabularies used by all relevant disciplines.
  • Avoid keywords that are too broad (i.e. terms that would return an unmanageable number of search results) or too narrow (e.g. technical terms or abbreviations that readers interested in your research might not be familiar with).
  • Repeat the most important keywords a few times - search engines give more weight to repeated phrases - but make sure the abstract still flows well for human readers.

Where to publish

  • Submit your work to reputable journals / conferences / publishers that are widely read and cited. See our Which journal? guide.
  • Make your publication open access, i.e. freely available for everyone to read online. 

Getting the credit

It is important to give your affiliation clearly. Use the format:

Name, Research group/centre (if applicable), Department/School, University of Bath, Bath, BA2 7AY, UK.

Register for an ORCID and use it to distinguish yourself from other researchers with similar names. ORCIDs are unique, persistent identifiers for individual researchers.

Promote your research

  • Present at conferences, seminars and workshops, particularly around the time of publication. 
  • Share your key research findings by engaging with the media, policy makers and/or industry. 
  • Use the internet and social media to expose your research to the widest possible audience. 

The Research Marketing Team can help you develop a communication plan for your research and put you in contact with the right people to deliver it.

Collaborate

Citation analysis suggests that who you publish with can affect how much your publications are cited. In general, co-authored publications are cited more than single author publications and internationally co-authored publications are cited more on average than single-country publications.