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April 24, 2020 | 5 min read

By José Stoop

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Maximizing the discoverability of your article

With the overwhelming number of research articles being published daily, most researchers find themselves spending a significant amount of their time each week searching for and reading new literature (the average spent on this is estimated to be seven hours per week!). We see it as part of our role as publisher to help your article stand out, and make sure it is found and read by the right people. Imagine having your article pop-up first on Google when people are searching on your research topic, how awesome would that be? Or what about seeing your article as the first recommended in a research database like ScienceDirect, Scopus or Web of Science?

In this article, we’ll be sharing some tips & tricks for before and after your work has been published. We are confident that these will help your research to be discovered quickly, widely and by the right people!

Things to consider before publication

Boost – maximize your article’s visibility through careful labelling and search engine optimization (SEO)

When finalizing your paper, use carefully chosen keywords that are both descriptive and specific. Give special attention to the title (a catchy title can attract attention, just make sure it fits the article), headings and figure captions. Prepare and submit Research Highlights(opens in new tab/window) - three to five “short and sweet” bullet points summarizing the main findings and novelty of the article. Doing so will help readers to quickly grasp the essentials of your article. Or what about visualizing your results in a graphical abstract: there are plenty of user-friendly programs available for this these days. Most of these elements will be used by search engines, which are one of the most important drivers to scientific literature these days. This article(opens in new tab/window) contains a number of ideas to improve your article’s visibility that you might find useful.

Link – embed your article  

Linking from and to your article can really help boost its ranking. Within your article, you can link to external databases and other useful resources. If you have deposited data in a repository, make sure to establish reciprocal links. Once published, see that your institutional and personal website, and any appropriate social media channels also point to your article.

Aim high – look for the largest audience possible

If you feel you are sitting on a goldmine and your article is of interest to a wider audience, reach out to your institute’s communications office or to your publisher to discuss the options – they might be interested in preparing a press release around your article. Preparing a research statement - in which you explain the significance of your research and its key outcomes in lay language(opens in new tab/window) – is always a good idea as doing so will allow you to explain the significance of your work to the widest possible readership. Be prepared!

Things to consider after publication

Share – use tools such as Mendeley and Share Links to share your article broadly

After publication, make sure to share your article within your personal and professional networks. Mendeley(opens in new tab/window) is an excellent venue to showcase your work, track and demonstrate the impact of your research through citations, readers, views and media mentions, and identify new collaborators.

A Share Link is a customized link which Elsevier authors receive for their newly published article on ScienceDirect, and which they can post anywhere or share with anyone interested. Anyone clicking on the Share Link will be entitled to 50 days of free access to the article – no sign up or registration required. Want to learn more? Check out the article on Share Links here(opens in new tab/window).

Not sure when, where and how you are allowed to share or post your article? This page will provide you with a useful overview, and you may also find the information here(opens in new tab/window) of use.

Post – make full use of appropriate channels on social media

Use relevant social media channels such as Twitter and Weibo to promote your own article. You should also consider establishing a Mendeley Profile page, a professional author page on Facebook, and/or a LinkedIn profile. And don’t forget to engage! Try to target influencers in your field, respond to queries you receive over social media, and actively each out to fellow researchers if you think your work could help. There is a mention of a research article every seven seconds on social media – so make sure your work is included!

Network – be out there!

Conferences are a great venue to promote your research and network. Here is your chance to give a talk, present a poster and discuss your work in person with your peers. Don’t be afraid to approach the hotshots of your field, they don’t bite and are most likely just as passionate about their research as you are. Doing so could lead to valuable links and opportunities for collaboration so make the most of the chance.

We hope this article has been useful and we look forward seeing your article shine!

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