Top 10 tips for increasing your citations

Who doesn’t want more people to read and cite their work? Here’s some tips I have learnt along the way about what kind of publications attract attention and citations. They are most relevant for postgraduate students and academics in the humanities and social sciences.

1. Make sure you have a Google Scholar profile set up. People can then easily find your work all in one place. Google Scholar is much more inclusive of humanities and social sciences publications and citations than are the science-oriented citation databases such as Scopus or Web of Science.

2. Write books. My top-most cited publications are nine of my books. Some of these were published more than two decades ago and are still regularly cited.

3. Write about a diverse range of topics. This means a much wider readership for your work. It will also help keep you and your writing fresh and interesting, which in turn, will make you more interesting to your readers.

4. Publish in a wide range of journals. Ditto.

5. Be one of the first to write about a new topic or concept or apply a social theory in a new way. Get in early and you will become the ‘go to’ reference to cite.

6. Write ‘how to’ pieces. Here again, introductory publications that clearly outline how to apply a particular method or a new social theory will attract interest and attention.

7. Make your writing easily accessible: Use open access repositories such as your university’s e-repository or ResearchGate to publise your outputs and make them readily available to people. You can upload preprints or postprints of articles and book chapters, and ResearchGate makes it very easy for people to request a PDF of the published version and for you to supply it.

8. Use social media to spread the word about your new publications. Tweet, blog, notify Facebook special interest groups, make an introductory YouTube video.

9. If you write book chapters, make them readily available open access as soon as they are finalised. Book chapters can take ages to be published, but you can share preprints once they are ready and people can start citing them.

10. Be bold and take risks in your writing. Readers are attracted to new shiny things and will be more interested if you are trying to do something different or innovative.

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