Why researchers should make their research papers available on internet?

In this blog post, I will discuss the importance of making research papers available on the internet.

papers

As you probably knows, many researchers nowadays prefer to search for papers/articles on the internet instead of searching at their university’s library. Searching on internet is more convenient, although there is a risk that several papers are not available online and therefore to miss some important parts of the literature.

Now, given that so many people do their literature review online, it is crucial to make sure that your research is visible on the internet.

If your papers are available on the Web, it is more likely that other researchers will read your papers and cite you.

But don’t forget  that even if your papers are available on some publisher websites, not all  universities pay the subscriptions for accessing these websites. Therefore, it is possible that several researchers may not have access to your papers.

So how to publish my papers?

First, I would recommend to create a website if you don’t have one already so that you have a web presence. Then, you could consider posting some of your research papers on your website as PDF.  To do that, you should check that it is in accordance with the copyright policy of your publisher.  For example, some publishers allow posting reprint version of papers on an author’s website.

Second, you could register to social networking websites for researchers like ResearchGate, Academia.edu, CiteUlike and upload your research papers (again, according to the copyright policy). For example, the papers posted on ResearchGate can be indexed by Google Scholar.

Third, you could post your papers (or a preprint version of your paper) to archiving services such as ArXiv or Citeseer (again, according to the copyright policy). This can also provide a good visibility to your papers.

Fourth, another solution is to publish your papers in open-access journals or conferences.  However, if you choose this option, you need to be careful about choosing a conference or journal that has a good reputation. There are some open-access journal that do not have a good reputation.

Provide some additional contents on your website

After putting some of your papers online, you can increase the interest on your research by offering other online contents related to your papers on your website. For example, you could add links to your website to download source code, datasets and even powerpoint presentations related to your research. You could also create a blog and Twitter account to discuss issues related to your research and link to your PDFs and website. This will help to promote your website and contents.

Actually, it is possible to optimize a researchers’ website by using all the tricks that people use in the field of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). This includes: choosing a good title for your website, having other websites link to your website, etc.

Editing the metadata of your PDF before publishing on the web

Another important thing to consider when publishing your papers to the web as PDF is to make sure that the metadata of your PDF is correctly set. This is very important!  If your metadata is not set correctly, it is possible that the title of your paper will not appear correctly in search services such as Google Scholar.

How to fix this?

  • If you are using Microsoft Word, go to the properties of your document and change the metadata (title, authors, keywords) before saving your file as PDF.
  • If your file is already as a PDF, then use a free PDF editing software to edit the metadata of your PDF.

Choosing the name of your PDF  carefully

Another important thing to consider before publishing your research papers as PDF to the web is to choose an appropriate filename for your PDF.  For example, if you published a paper about social network mining at the ABC 2012 conference , then don’t name your paper “ABC.pdf” or “ABC2012.pdf”. You should instead choose a name that precisely describes the subject of your paper such as “social_network_mining_for_researchers.pdf”.  This will make it more likely that other researchers will find your paper and click on it.

If you have some additional thoughts, please share them in the comment section. By the way, if you like this blog, you can subscribe to the RSS Feed or my Twitter account (https://twitter.com/philfv) to get notified about future blog posts.  Also, if you want to support this blog, please tweet and share it!

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