In my opinion, the famous slogan ‘publish or perish’ is not valid today. In the modern world there is no guarantee that publishing will save you from perishing. This is owing to the fact that today we have many more publications than we had ten or twenty years ago. Currently, published work is more available than ever before.
Today, the authors have to make some extra efforts to make a serious impact. In this publishing environment, one important question for the authors is; who will be interested in the work and why? This question is also the fundamental concern of the editors. To ensure the success of the publication, authors have to prove that their work has the potential to attract a large audience and bring a positive change.
My suggestion to authors is: it is not sufficient to tell that you did the research yourself, the methods you applied, or the results you have found. The work that makes a difference is much more than this. It attracts and holds the interest of the targeted audience. It states a topic of great significance and the efforts made to discover unique knowledge. Also, it helps the audience understand the topic deeply. In short, the work that brings change effectively answers the question, so what?
Here I would also like to include some data and the research I have done to give an in-depth analysis. Approximately twenty percent of the output serves as the citation source for eighty percent of the publications. This clearly manifests that if your research paper is in that eighty percent, you might perish. The editors are always looking for that twenty percent, as they have the potential to attract a large audience and make a positive change.
Hence, my recommendation to authors is: never to let the editor decide your fate. Remember that you are the master of the field and only you know the worth of your research more than anyone. If you are not confident about your work, no other person will ever be.
How do you know whether your work will make an impact?
The possible benchmark is citation numbers and the quality of the references. However, for this, you need extra attention and understanding. There are three possible ways to understand citation data.
The first method is to consider the strength of received citations to your research. you can simply consider the number of citations a research publication has. However, this method generally misleads the authors, as it does not consider the time frame. For example, one publication gets a hundred citations in one year and the other gets the same number in one month.
The second method is to consider the H-index. It is a more comprehensive method, as it includes more aspects of an author’s contribution. To understand, consider two persons. Both have 500 citations each from 15 publications. The progress of the two looks the same. Now consider that person X has an H-index of 10; which means that 10 of his outputs have achieved 10 citations. And, the person Y has H-index of 6; meaning that 6 of his outputs have gotten at least 6 citations. Hence, author X shows more consistency with the impact his work has created. H-index is a good indicator of the author’s worth, especially at the beginning of his career.
The third method is to consider the author’s trajectory. This method is more useful as it allows us to compare two authors having similar citation numbers or H-index. Nevertheless, the number of citations is the basic parameter. All the methods discussed above focus on the number of citations. To make it short, the number of citations show the impact an author’s work has created.
Additionally, the number of people who read is less than the number of views. And, the number of citations is much smaller. This leaves us with two important questions
- Why don’t the visitors consider reading?
- Why don’t the readers consider citations?
These questions require comprehensive answers. Authors should look for techniques to make the visitors read and cite the publication.
A large variety of factors make the publication impactful. The standard parameters help us with understanding a few deciding factors. But there is no set of rules that works for every publication. It would be fascinating to see the evolution of metrics and their contribution to answering the above-mentioned questions.