How do I get read and cited if I do not publish in elite-journals?

Photo: sj_sanders

Photo: sj_sanders.

Recently on the ResearchGate blog1 Professor Rolf Henrik Nilsson of the University of Gothenburg proposed the recurrent question that always comes to new researchers (and not so new), namely: How can you increase the visibility of your published articles?2

Most researchers who are not in the select group of privileged who publish in elite-journals or Q1 journals, wonder what is the recipe to enhance the impact of their publications.

Professor Nilsson started an interesting debate that, within the two weeks since he published his post, has received about 30 contributions from dozens of universities and institutions as distant from each other as Estonia Physical Society, Manchester Metropolitan University, University of Melbourne, California State University, Spanish National Research Council, Universidad de Monterrey, University of Waikato, etc.

Nilsson’s starting point focuses on the goal of increasing citations impact as a matter of public relations. He does not consider the Impact Factor of elite-journals, WoS, Scopus, etc.; this will be the result of a proper promotion campaign. To start the debate, Nilsson offers some classic actions and invites other researchers to reveal their helpful advice (tips).

  • Publish preprints/post prints in repositories like arXiv or similar.
  • Take a good amount of reprints for upcoming conferences that you will attend.
  • Write a press release with the aid of the press office of your university.
  • Send notes to an appropriate e-mail list.
  • Include copies of the paper on the news panels in the canteens of universities you work and visit.

Then, a cascade of ideas came out; over 30 different suggestions were recorded, some of which we mention in this note:

  • Attach copies of the first page of your article on the billboard of social rooms of your working place or at institutions you visit for lectures.
  • Make a brief presentation (free) of your paper on campus, and serve cookies and coffee to the public.
  • Give a conference on the topic in class and then include it in the exam subjects.
  • Ask your students to make a review of the paper or to complement it, and assign qualifications.
  • Aggregate the paper’s title on your Web CV page under “Recent Publications”.
  • Advertise the publication on sites like ResearchGate or Facebook,, Mendeley, Scribd, ORCID, Epernicus, and all other free social media sites you know, and if you are not registered, do so and advertise your work.
  • If possible, publish the article in Open Access journals, such as SciELO and PLOS journals.
  • Send a copy of your article to authors who write textbooks for higher education institutions. The authors review their books regularly and it is possible that they will include your article in the bibliography of the new edition. Both students and teachers read the books and your article will be included.
  • Send copies of your article to all the authors who have been included in your references, they will thank you for having been cited, and it is possible that by reciprocity, they will cite you in the future.

Some more sophisticated and elaborate ideas also came out, e.g., an idea submitted by a Professor from the Iowa State University. This researcher searched in Google Scholar the frequency of results for each of the descriptors associated to her paper or to the title’s key words. Then, all terms that obtained many results in Google Scholar were replaced by more precise terms, so that reduced the response. For example, on her work on a sort of bean, when she sought ‘common beans’, she obtained 32,700 documents, but using ‘Phaseolus vulgaris‘ she got 289,000, for which she used in her article ‘common beans’ increasing, in this way, the likelihood for her article to be retrieved by a researcher in the field. Furthermore, it is important to use in the abstract different synonyms of the key words of the title and descriptors.

Other advices by Paul Goldberg can be found on his blog in an article called ‘The pursuit of citations’, in which we highlight two observations3:

  • Write with a good amount of coauthors, and ask each one of them to engage on public relations, which will increase the dissemination.
  • Regardless of your research field being large or small it is much more important whether it is a rapidly growing one or whether the community is losing interest on it. It is not important that your area is large; it is more important whether it is growing.

Finally, if you want a more complete list of 33 strategies, we recommended you to read a paper published in 2013 in ‘International Education Studies’ entitled Effective Strategies for Increasing Citation Frequency4.


The amount of citations you receive in your paper will not be mechanically inherited by the journal’s importance (IF) where it has been published, but rather from your promoting actions and marketing.


1 ResearchGate ( is a social network of researchers around the world that links over 5 million researchers with the purpose of sharing publications and access to scientific outcomes.

2 NILSSON, R.H. How do you increase the visibility of published article? [viewed 30 October 2014]. Available from:

3 GOLDBERT, P. The pursuit of citations. Paul Goldberg. [viewed 30 October 2014]. Available from:

4 EBRAHIM, N.A., et al. Effective Strategies for Increasing Citation Frequency. International Education Studies. 2013, vol. 6, nº 11, pp. 93-99. Available from:


Ernesto SpinakAbout Ernesto Spinak

Collaborator on the SciELO program, a Systems Engineer with a Bachelor’s degree in Library Science, and a Diploma of Advanced Studies from the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (Barcelona, Spain) and a Master’s in “Sociedad de la Información” (Information Society) from the same university. Currently has a consulting company that provides services in information projects to 14 government institutions and universities in Uruguay.


Como citar este post [ISO 690/2010]:

SPINAK, E. How do I get read and cited if I do not publish in elite-journals? [online]. SciELO in Perspective, 2015 [viewed ]. Available from:


2 Thoughts on “How do I get read and cited if I do not publish in elite-journals?

  1. Pingback: How do I get read and cited if I do not publish in elite-journals? | SciELO in Perspective | Nader Ale Ebrahim

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