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University at Buffalo Libraries

Transforming Scholarly Communication & Publishing

Maximize Your Research Impact

Easy as 1-2-3:


Step 1: Identify the right journal

First, think about which journal has the appropriate scope and audience of researchers interested in your research. The more your research is read; the more it will be used and cited by others.  Journal home pages and more experienced colleagues can provide guidance.


Second, identify which journals publish research similar to yours.


Third, evaluate the journal impact factor which tells you how often the average article published with the last two years has been cited. The journal impact factor and many other journal-level citation metrics can be found by searching Journal Citation Reports, which uses Web of Science citation data.


What if a journal is not listed in the Journal Citations Reports.


Fourth, consider journal affordability. Check the subscription price, especially for institutions and the number of libraries maintaining current subscriptions using WorldCat, a master catalog of North American library holdings.


Fifth, find out if there are good peer reviewed open access journals in your field using the Directory of Open Access Journals.  There may be an article processing fee, but your work can be freely read by any researcher in the world.


Step 2: Increase the visibility/discoverability of your scholarship

  • Reserve your right to post an open access (OA) preprint, final manuscript, or published version of your article.
  • Be sure to use your full name and standard institutional name/address to assure easily identifiable citations to your work.
  • Pay special attention to writing a descriptive title and an informative abstract.

Step 3: Track citation-based metrics for your articles

There are many tools that track citations to your work and calculate standard metrics for tenure/promotion dossiers and other career purposes. Resources include personal profiles, subscription databases, and free web services. For example:

Personal Profiles

  • ORCID – a new, broadly supported researcher profile that creates a unique author identification number. By creating an authoritative publication list associated with your id number, you can minimize confusion with other researchers with similar names.
  • ResearcherID – an older id system associated with the Web of Science (WOS). Your ORCID and ResearcherID profiles can easily be linked. Citation counts for publications in ResearchID are automatically updated from WOS.

Subscription Databases (UB)

  • Web of Science – the premier citation database covering journal articles from all disciplines, including social sciences and humanities, despite its name.
  • SciFinder – a broadly based science database focusing on chemistry, life, environmental, materials sciences, and physics. Citations since 1996 are recorded. There is no citation report feature.  

Free Web

  • Harzing’s Publish or Perish - By far, the best free web tool that uses Google Scholar data to calculate many citation metrics. Citations to and from all forms of scholarly material are captured, including articles, conference papers, book chapters, patents, and technical report. Hence, metrics may be higher than Web of Science. Downloads for Windows, Mac, and Linux systems.
  • Google Scholar My Citations – Only tracks your own publications.

The University of Wisconsin Milwaukee Libraries maintain a detailed citation analysis guide worth consulting.

It is important to identify the best citation resources for your field. Getting an accurate, complete citation count is a complex process requiring in-depth knowledge of the underlying database. Contact A. Ben Wagner, the chair of the University Libraries Scholarly Communications Committee, or your departmental library liaison to discuss your specific needs.


Last Updated: 5/8/2013