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Research Metrics: Measuring the Influence and Impact of Research

A guide to understanding impact factors, journal rankings, h-index, alt-metrics, and other means of analyzing the influence and impact of published research.

Researcher Profiles & Collaboration Tools

Maximize Impact through Open Access

Where you publish can maximize your impact. Many recent studies indicate that open-access articles are more immediately and more frequently cited than non-open-access articles. Increased citation rates lead to greater research impact.

The way to maximize the impact of your research findings is to maximize the exposure to your work.

  1. Retain your copyrights. Copyright, when signed over to a publisher, limits your ability to disseminate your work. By retaining your copyright, you can maximize your options for dissemination, thus maximizing your work's potential reach and gaining a wider audience for your scholarship. You can retain your copyright by utilizing an author's addendum. We recommend using the SPARC author's addendum.  You can also consult the SHERPA/RoMEO site for information about the copyright policies and self-archiving terms found in most publishers' agreements.

  2. Make your article open access.

    • Publish in an open-access journal. The Directory of Open Access Journals lists thousands of journals. To publish in many of these journals, you may be required to pay a publication fee. This fee can be charged to your funding agency. (Consult SHERPA/Juliet for a list of research funders' policies on open access.).  The UFOAP is also available to help with costs of publishing in open access journals.

    • Pay an open-access or publication fee. Many traditional, subscription-based publishers allow authors to pay an additional publication fee to make their articles immediately available to the public. Journals with this option are often referred to as "hybrid open access journals." Publishers refer to these fees by various terms such as "paid access," "open choice," "sponsored article," etc.

    • Some journals make their content free after a certain "embargo" period. Thousands of journals published online through HighWire Press make their content available for free after a period of time, usually 12 months. Consult the HighWire Press list of Free Online Full-text Articles.

  3. Post your article in a repository.

    A repository can be a pre-print server such as the arXiv e-Print service at Cornell or a subject repository such as PubMed Central, the National Institutes of Health digital archive. At the University of Florida, you can also deposit your articles in the University of Florida Institutional Repository (IR@UF), in accordance with the terms of your publication agreement if you publish an article in a traditional commercial or society journal.

    The advantages of posting an article to a repository:

    • The article can be discovered by anyone doing a Google search (wider audience).
    • Articles residing in a repository are ensured archival access.
    • As an author, you can post related and associated files that can't be published in a traditional journal.

  4. Find out more about the journal before you decide to publish there to ensure that the publisher's high costs do not pose a barrier to access:

    • Journal Cost Effectiveness: Ranks internationally-published journals by price per article or citation. (This is a beta site.)
    • Role of Scholarly Societies: Includes a Best Practices Checklist highlighting policies among a small sample of societies.
    • SHERPA/RoMEO: Find out whether your publisher allows you to place your article in a repository.

The text of this section comes, in part, from the University of California Berkeley's Library Scholarly Communications web site.

More Strategies for Maximizing Impact

  • Authors are highly recommended to use the same variation of their name consistently throughout the course of their academic studies and future professional activities. If the name is a common name, consider adding a middle name to distinguish it from other authors. If the name is still a common name, consider changing the name. Consistency enhances retrieval and helps to disambiguate author names in databases. Uniqueness of a name helps establishes a “presence” for an author.

  • If the publication was generated as a result of a specific research study or a group such as an academic program of study, a laboratory or clinic, add the name of the research study or group as a corporate author and use the name consistently. Adding a corporate name for a research study or group enhances retrieval of research output by the given study or group.
  • Formulate a concise, well-constructed title and abstract for a work. Include crucial keywords in the abstract. Most databases allow for searching of words noted in a title and an abstract, and secondly, a clear abstract allows users to quickly discern the basis of the work when reviewing a list of results generated by a search query.
  • If the work relates to a research study, create a website devoted to the research study and post materials such as peer-reviewed versions of manuscripts of journal publications, conference abstracts, supplemental materials such as images, illustrations, slides, or specimens, progress reports, to name a few. Authors are encouraged to review any copyright forms to confirm that they have the right to post materials on an institutional website. 

  • If there is a website related to a research study, website developers should utilize SEO (search engine optimization) strategies to enhance retrieval of materials by search engines such as Google.  The web developer should confirm that the web page titles describe the content of the website and include the name of the research study. Meta tags that note appropriate keywords should be included in the page header section. Search engines look at this “hidden content” and use this as a basis for search results page rankings.

  • Register with CiteULike and start a “library” of publications related to a research project or by author and share the research project library with others.

  • Start a blog devoted to the research project. Check out which is a site that allows bloggers to write about peer-reviewed research, but also to share that work with readers and bloggers around the world to learn about cutting-edge research developments.

  • Create a podcast describing the research project and submit the podcast to YouTube. Many major academic or research institutions have created their own YouTube channels and provide video services at no charge.

Compiled from Washington University School of Medicine's Bernard Becker Medical Library "Strategies for Enhancing the Impact of Research"

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