Academicians worldwide invest considerable time and resources into writing journal articles. But, the focus often shifts once the article is published. Scholars simply move on to the next paper or with their research. While for institutions, it becomes another statistic.
Far from ideal, isn't it? Think about all the effort that went into uncovering those critical insights. Wouldn't it all go to waste when the paper gets lost among thousands of articles published each year? More importantly, it stops other researchers from building on your findings, slowing down scientific progress.
How do you solve this and maximize research impact? The first step should be to improve research visibility. Authors and institutions need to collaborate to ensure their articles are discovered, cited, and discussed. To help you get started, we have listed down a few actionable steps to improve your research visibility.
6 ways to improve research visibility
Research visibility is typically based on how easily discoverable your articles are, how often they are being cited, and by whom. Here are a few simple techniques to increase your research visibility.
1. Submit articles to institutional repositories
Research output dissemination gets easier with institutional repositories. Nowadays, publishers allow authors to make a version (based on various Open Access policies) of their manuscripts freely accessible in the repository of the institution they are affiliated with.
Check out Elsevier's sharing and hosting policies:
With this, you are essentially opening up articles that may otherwise be locked behind paywalls. As a result, they will soon rank on Google and other search engines for relevant keywords, improving your research visibility quickly. Studies even suggest that papers that are opened in full text in repositories enjoyed a 22-44% increase in citation count.
The caveats here are that the repository solution must support copyright detection and search-optimized indexing. Typeset University Suite checks both these boxes and more.
2. Ensure that authors have a digital identifier
Gauging research visibility is not easy when you cannot accurately track your output. Creating a digital identifier number that permanently links you to your work solves the problem to a large extent. It eliminates ambiguity created by similar names.
Since the author's number is embedded during manuscript submission, citations across platforms can be tracked and claimed easily. It also acts as a record of the researcher's productivity, allowing funders, potential collaborators, and institutions to get insights into their experience.
3. Make research materials publicly available
The opportunities to gain citations don't end with the article PDF. You can make data sets, lines of code, and other documents publicly available too. Platforms such as Figshare or Zenodo let you do this safely and securely regardless of size or format.
The best part is that it automatically assigns a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) number to these artifacts. This ensures that you receive credit when another scholar uses it as part of their research or cites it.
4. Contribute to Open Access journals
As we mentioned earlier, Open Access articles are more likely to be cited than those behind a paywall. So, when you are identifying potential journals, give more emphasis to journals that support Open Access publishing.
Open Access journals typically charge authors a specific fee for submissions. This fee may stop some faculty and researchers from opting for OA publications. To avoid this situation, the institution can set up a dedicated OA publishing fund and bear the expenses on behalf of the researchers and faculty.
While it could be seen as an additional expenditure, OA journals are freely accessible, and it costs very little for the university library to stock them.
Check out this eBook on Open Access Publishing to learn how it helps improve your research visibility.
5. Distribute key insights online
If you want to improve your research visibility, sharing critical insights must be at the top of the agenda. It allows you to reach a wider audience asynchronously. You can showcase your expertise, spark conversations about your research, and engage with people from anywhere, anytime.
Because the internet is such a multi-dimensional platform, the possibilities are endless. For example, check out how Queen's University, Belfast used Flickr to promote its special collections let you do this safely and securely regardless of size or format.
Similarly, here's a list of things you can do:
- Launch a blog or even a YouTube channel where you share personal notes on your research, key findings, and behind-the-scenes stories.
- Share your research highlights on different social media websites, including LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.
- Answer questions or participate in discussions relevant to your article on social media.
- Participate in AMA sessions on Reddit and other social media platforms.
- Feature as an expert guest on podcasts and webinars related to your topic.
- Build an email list featuring interested researchers, university colleagues, and subject matter experts and share critical insights with them.
- Convert critical insights from your study into infographics and upload them to Pinterest and Slideshare.
Remember to license your work using Creative Commons licenses. This way, interested readers will be encouraged to re-use your content.
Apart from this, create profiles on scholarly platforms like ResearchGate, Academia.edu, Mendeley. You can share articles under the section' work experience'. Then, you can also answer relevant questions from their QnA forums.
6. Level up your ASEO game
One of the common reasons why some publications don't rank is that they are not optimized for search engines. Everything matters, from the article title to the repository where it is archived. It might feel overwhelming, but it is well worth the effort.
Here are a few ASEO tips to keep in mind:
- Try to include the primary keyword at the beginning of the title or within the first 60-70 characters.
- The paper's abstract should be equipped with the search intent term about 3-5 times and should be placed in the first two sentences of the content.
- Incorporate keywords right from the title of the article to the conclusion.
- Use long-tail keywords or phrases instead of stuffing the same keyword; it looks more contextual and helps flow the text without flaws.
- Incorporate meaningful and discipline-specific or niche-based keywords and avoid vague or indefinite terms.
- Use thesauri or discipline-specific thesauri to find the right keywords subjecting your niche.
- Search engines don't encourage over-optimized content unnecessarily stuffed with keywords.
You can check out this ASEO guide to gain a deep understanding of the topic.
Improving research visibility requires a conscious and collaborative effort. Researchers and scholarly communication professionals need to come together and chart a path forward. Since both universities and authors stand to gain from the activity, both parties must work together.