How to make a splash and keep track of the ripple effect...

Find out who else is in the pond

Finding out who else undertakes research in your area can be useful for networking, collaboration and innovation. It can give you an indication of the respected journals in your area and which conferences might give your work good exposure.

Tools that can help identify your peers around the world include Web of Science and other databases specific to your area of expertise. A quick Google search for the names of authors/researchers will often reveal personal web pages that can be a mine of information.

To find your peers in Web of Science:

  1. Click on the link to Web of Science. If you are using a computer from home of work login using your FAN username and password.
  2. Select Web of Science(TM) Core Collection from the drop down "All Databases" menu.
  3. Enter a "quick search" topic
  4. When the results are shown, click on "analyze", then click on "analyze" again to rank the results by author.

Find out about the journal in which you intend to publish

Not all journals are created equal. To make the biggest impact, check to see if the journal is peer reviewed before you submit your work. This marks out the publication as a quality journal, and will reflect prestige on your research. Other factors that affect the impact and prestige of a journal include the make up of the editorial board, whether it is available electronically or not and whether it has a record of publishing high quality, highly cited work.

Ulrich's International Periodicals Directory can help with this information, as well as giving more detail including reviews, and whether it's available electronically or only in print. Alternatively, you may look at the homepage of the journal.

Journal Citation Reports is another tool you might consider. It enables evaluation and comparison of citation data from 7500 journals from around the world and ranks them according to an impact factor.

You can find journal impact factors as follows:

  1. Click on the link to Journal Citation Reports If you are using a computer from home or work login using your FAN username and password.
  2. Select a JCR edition and year, specify 'View a group of journals by Subject Category' from the pull down menu and
  3. Select one or more categories e.g. BIODIVERSITY CONSERVATION then
  4. Scan for the Abbreviated Journal Title in the pages listed to find the Impact Factor for the selected year.

Make sure you keep the pre-publication version of the article

Flinders University has an institutional repository, the Flinders Academic Commons. It will become an electronic archive of research materials produced by Flinders staff. Even though you have published your work in a refereed journal, in most cases it will be possible to archive your last pre-publication version of the article in an institutional repository.

Doing this means it will be indexed by Google and Google Scholar, and the full text will be available to scholars around the world. For more information about how much of a splash this can make, see this article from the Journal of Medical Internet Research.

Check the ripple effect

There are lots of reasons to check how many times your work has been cited, not least of which is the satisfaction that your work is valued by your colleagues. It helps to identify other scholars that share your interests, may spark your research in another direction and is one of the few tangible ways of measuring the impact of your work.

A number of tools are available to check how many times your work has been cited, as well as who has cited it. Their effectiveness varies according to the discipline area.

Generally, the best source is Web of Science (click here for help on how to search for citation data), but you many also wish to check Google Scholar for a wider search.

More information is available from: