Are there ways to improve the citations of a scientific paper?

Published:February 03, 2018DOI:


      • Retrieval of useful scientific information leaves many important data unrecognized.
      • Redundant information from generic KWs discourages searching and citation.
      • A rational KW choice narrows the target, optimizing scientific information exchange.
      • Selecting focused KWs improves diffusion-citation of relevant scientific knowledge.
      • Suitable formulas to trial and error reshape KWs optimize the chances of citation.



      The expansion of scientific publications makes more difficult the mining of relevant information necessary for a productive appraisal of authors' work, scientific interaction and exchange. Papers over-citation is unproductive, under-citation of innovative research generates delay and inefficiency. The extraction of information from the literature is mostly based on keywords (KWs).


      I computed the chances of citation of one paper as 1/number of papers retrieved by the KWs published in that paper, and compared them with the chances obtained by selecting different KWs.


      Using generic KWs the chances are smaller, at times practically nil, as compared to those calculated with more specific KWs and their association.


      Selecting scientifically-analyzed KWs, specific for the message conveyed by a paper and computing beforehand the theoretical chances of citation, might increase the citations obtained, the retrieval of important scientific and innovative information, optimize scientific exchange and qualitative productivity.

      Learning points

      • Retrieval of useful scientific information leaves many important data unrecognized when the KWs selected display a large number of papers.
      • Redundant information yielded by generic KWs discourages searching and favors the citation of articles published on established and well reputed journals.
      • A more rational use of KWs narrows the target, offering more selected information, while optimizing the exchange of scientific data and hypothesis.
      • Appropriately selected KWs might improve the access to, and the diffusion-citation of relevant scientific knowledge.
      • Trial and error reshaping of KWs allows their best selection to improve the chances of citation, that can be computed by appropriate formulas.


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      • How to win space in medical journals: Bits and tips
        European Journal of Internal MedicineVol. 50
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          I chose to convey to the readership a few words not only on the achievements of the European Journal of Internal Medicine and the strategies implemented by me and the other editors for the disposal of the submitted articles, but also a few pieces of advice to prospective contributors, particularly those who are more junior and thus less experienced.
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