Nifty Little Nuggets for Improving Your Impact
| Nicolai Foss |
OK — since we are apparently doing the ligther posts currently (cf. Lasse’s recent post, the Mahoney and Pitelis list, etc.), here’s some potentially useful (?), hands-on advice on how to improve your academic impact.
Academic impact is obviously a multi-dimensional construct. While often measured simply in terms of publications in high-ranking journals, many universities now increasingly look at citation counts (i.e., SSCI numbers). This makes considerable sense. While an uncited paper in, for example, the Academy of Management Journal (and such exist) may have some social value (after all, it does certify the author as a competent researcher), there is no social value in terms of broader knowledge dissemination (and the results thereof). While the US seems to have the lead (in social science) when it comes to letting citation counts matter, the European scene is rapidly changing towards an increasing emphasis on citation figures. After all, these figures can be easily gathered, compared, etc. by research and university bureaucrats, looking for new areas where they can meddle in a low-cost manner.
Here are some simple ideas that may help to increase your citation numbers:
1. The idea dissemination process isn’t finished with the publication of your paper in a journal — it is only just started! Form a strategy regarding how you are going to assist the dissemination of the ideas in your paper.
2. Send your paper to colleagues. Identify minimum 10 international scholars who are likely to be interested in your research. Don’t just choose your friends, who are already familiar with your research. Pick some big guys who you can target.
3. You may send an email with a link to your newly published paper. Remember to include an abstract in the mail. Even better: Send a print version with a personal note.
4. Ask the journal whether they will distribute your paper to leading scholars in the field.
5. When you review articles for journals, don’t be shy of recommending that the authors consult and cite your own work. (Obviously, don’t overdo this! If you mention 5 other citable papers then max one of these should be your own work). There is a reason why you were picked as a reviewer, after all.
6. Advertise your research when you do seminars and speeches beyond the specific paper you are supposed to present. Show/mention how the current paper fits into a broader research stream of yours. Put download links into the slides. Make sure the slides are distributed beforehand or afterwards to the seminar/conference participants. Bring those annoying reprints of your articles with you to seminars/conferences.
7. Self-reference — but do so sparingly. 2-3 self-references per article are OK; more than that ain’t (most reviewers attack excessive self-citation because it reveals your identity plus a lot of self-citation is just . . . bad taste!).
8. Cite colleagues at your department/group. They are likely to cite you back in return. While this kind of “self-citation” may be filtered out of citation counts, it still makes your work more visible — and therefore more likely to be cited by others.
9. Use other electronic resources than mail: Set up a site/blog with download links to your papers. If you are on Facebook, use your status update field to advertise your research.
10. Last but (certainly!) not least: Aim at the best journals! We know that the best journals are more cited.