Author: Arantxa Vizcaino– Translation: Erika-Lucia Gonzalez-Carrion

An issue related to the publication of scientific manuscripts is that of citations. When our work is cited, we obtain a measure of obvious influence for the researcher, in that the article has been read and influenced the thinking and research of others, either in support or refutation. While authors often focus their efforts on selecting a journal indexed in high-impact databases to submit their research, the pre- and post-publication visibility of the manuscript is often omitted. The impact of the article itself within the journal is a priority and fundamental for the recognition of the researcher in labor, promotional, financial and intellectual matters.

Excellence in research is a useful path for the life of the manuscript and the researcher. However, an excellent work may be hidden or forgotten by readers, simply because of ignorance in citing sources by not having proposed (and presented) an accessible, attractive and memorable study. But what should we keep in mind when turning a scientific article into highly citable research?

  • The language of the manuscript should always be clear and precise, with descriptions of the material presented, so as to avoid the complexity of the different processes that make up the research. Simple writing, evidence and logical and convincing arguments should be prioritized. A confusing text, ambiguous or incoherent definitions, conclusions that are not convincing or evident, invite readers to omit the study of your theoretical framework of influence.
  • Information-rich descriptions. Accurate information on innovative methods and revealing results, as well as recommendations for future lines of research with a practical-theoretical character are eminent avenues for citation. Pitching an idea to the scientific community is the initiation of research questions and, consequently, of citations.
  • Clear, attractive tables and figures with discernible (and not redundant) information also receive positive attention from authors. In fact, these visual aspects are often widely appreciated by the reader, who tries to locate key information (whether in the theoretical framework, methodology or results) to shape his or her study.
  • Other fundamental elements are those referring to the ‘metadata’, see title, abstract and keywords. In fact, these elements are those that make the papers visible and position them in the different databases. Although it is not the information space of citation par excellence, it is the one of localization and interest. Therefore, introducing a researcher to our study depends on a good presentation. It is necessary to be precise without falling into abundance or saturation. A good title and a clear and revealing summary imply that the reader will decide (or not) to read the research.

These considerations, despite their obviousness, show the large number of manuscripts that today do not receive (or receive few) citations. In this aspect, the dissemination of the study in congresses and conferences, or the visibility of the manuscript in academic spaces and platforms, also play an important role in the citation process. In short, a scientific career requires clear reading, expository and communicative skills that allow us to offer reliable, rigorous and attractive data to researchers from all over the world. A good title on a bookshelf is synonymous with reading and reference.

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