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Research Impact and Visibility: Day 5: Get Alerts for Buzz About Your Work

A guide on tools to promote your research and increase citations

Publisher Alerts

Publisher notifications

In addition to displaying page views and downloads on their websites, publishers like PeerJ and Frontiers send notification emails as a service to their authors. Not a PeerJ or Frontiers author? Contact your publisher to find out if they offer notifications for metrics related to articles you’ve published.

If you are a PeerJ or Frontiers author, here are some pointers:

If you’re a PeerJ author, you should receive notification emails by default once your article is published. But if you want to check if your notifications are enabled, sign into PeerJ.com, and click your name in the upper right hand corner. Select “Settings.” Choose “Notification Settings” on the left navigation bar, and then select the “Summary” tab. You can then choose to receive daily or weekly summary emails for articles you’re following.

In Frontiers journals, it works like this: once logged in, click the arrow next to your name on the upper left-hand side and select “Settings.” On the left-hand nav bar, choose “Messages,” and under the “Other emails” section, check the box next to “Frontiers monthly impact digest.”

Both publishers aggregate activity for all of the publications you’ve published with them, so no need to worry about multiple emails crowding your inbox at once.

Publishers like PLOS display page view and download information for individual articles on their website, alongside other data like citations and altmetrics.

Let’s take a closer look at PLOS’s page view & download metrics. PLOS combines page views that happen on their website with page views and downloads the article receives on PubMed Central in a single view on the top of the article’s page:

If you click on the metrics tab of the article page, you get more useful information: total views and download numbers by source, over time; a basic impact graph; and a graph of the relative popularity of this article, compared to articles in the same discipline that are published in PLOS:

Here’s a closer look at the views and downloads grid and graph:

On articles’ Metrics pages, PLOS also provides other data, including citations from a variety of sources, social media and scholarly bookmarking services.

For PLOS and many other publishers, these metrics are only available on their websites. Some pioneering publishers go one step further, sending you an email when you’ve got new page views and downloads on their site.

Set Up Alerts: Google Scholar and Scopus

Citations are the “coin of the realm” to track scholarly impact, not only for your articles but also your research data, too. You can get citation alerts in three main ways: from Google Scholar, from traditional citation indices, and from certain databases.

Google Scholar Citation Alerts

Your Google Scholar profile can be used to alert you whenever your articles receive new citations online. It tracks any citations to your publications that occur on the scholarly web.

If you haven’t already signed up for citation alerts...

  1. Log on to scholar.google.com (click "Sign in" in the top right corner of the page.)
  2. Click "My Citations" at the top of the page. this should bring you to your Google Scholar profile.
  3. Click the blue “Follow” button at the top of your profile.
  4. Check the box for “Follow new citations” and make sure the email address displayed is your preferred one.
  5. Click “Create alert.” Notifications will arrive in your inbox when you receive new citations.

If you want to explore who has already cited you, visit your profile page, and click on the number of citations to the right of the article you want to track citations for:

On the next page, you’ll see a list of all the papers that have cited you, some of which you’ll be able to click-through and read:

Remember: Google Scholar indexes citations it finds in a wide range of scholarly documents (white papers, slide decks, and of course journal articles are all fair game) and in documents of any language. The data pool is also mixed with respect to peer-review status; some of these citations will be in the peer-reviewed literature, some will not. This means that your citation count on Google Scholar may be larger than on other citation services.

Scopus Alerts

In Scopus, you can set up alerts for both articles and authors. To create an alert for an article,

  1. Search for the article and then and click on the title in your search results.
  2. Once you’re on the Article Abstract screen, you will see a list of papers that cite your article on the right-hand side. To set your alert, click “Set citation alert” under “Inform me when this document is cited in Scopus.”

To set an author-level alert...

  1. Click the Author Search tab on the Scopus homepage and run a search for your name. If multiple results are returned, check the author affiliation and subjects listed to find your correct author profile.

  2. Next, click on your author profile link.
  3. On your author details page, follow the “Get citation alerts” link.

  4. At this point, if you have not yet created a Scopus account, you will need to create one.
    1. Click the "Not Registered?" link.
    2. Enter your information and click the "Register" button.
    3. You should see a message saying your registration was successful and a "Continue" button. Click the button.
    4. You should now be back on your author details page and you can proceed by clicking the “Get citation alerts” link again.
  5. Create a name for your saved alert, set an email address at which you would like to receive the alerts, and select your preferred frequency of alerts.
  6. Once you’re finished, click "Set Alert."

(BTW, for those who are interested, Scopus is hosting a webinar on May 19th titled Scopus: How Author Profiles work and how they can help showcase your research.)

With alerts set for these two services, you’ll now be notified when your work is cited in many, many publications worldwide! But citations only capture a very specific form of scholarly impact. How do we learn about other uses of your articles?

Academic Social Alerts

Both ResearchGate and Academia.edu will report how many people have viewed and downloaded your paper on their site.

You can turn on email notifications for page views and downloads by doing the following...

  1. Log in to ResearchGate or Academia.edu.
  2. On either site, click/hover over you profile picture in the upper right-hand corner of your screen and click "Settings"/"Account Settings."
  3. Then, click on the “Notifications”/Email Notifications in the sidebar menu (on the right for ResearchGate, on the left for Academia.edu).
  4. Check off the types of emails you want to receive. (Note: on ResearchGate, you should click each of the headings next to the right arrow to view your options.)

On Academia.edu, the option to receive page view & download notifications is described as “There’s new activity in my analytics (includes “Analytics Snapshot”)”; Academia.edu provides data for:

  • Profile views indicate the amount of times your profile has been viewed.

  • Paper views indicate the amount of times all of your papers have been viewed. 

  • Unique visitors is how many individual people have visited your papers OR your profile. This differs from profile or paper views because one unique visitor could visit multiple papers or view your profile more than once. 

On ResearchGate, the option to receive page view & download notifications is under Stats > “When someone reads my work.” ResearchGate defines "reads" as:

read is counted when somebody:

  • Reads the full-text or summary of any type of research (e.g., journal article, conference paper, dataset) on ResearchGate

  • Downloads a file hosted on ResearchGate, including direct downloads from Google Scholar and other search engines