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Spreading the Word about Your Research
An Author’s Guide to Article Promotion
You work hard conducting research and preparing articles for publication–and you know your science can make an important difference to the field. Ensure your study gets the attention it deserves. Use these simple strategies to help your article reach its full potential and find its readership, from the start of your writing process to publication and beyond.
Skip ahead to strategies you can use…
As you write
Choose a title that speaks to your readership
Many researchers find interesting papers using search engines like PMC or Google Scholar. When choosing a title for your manuscript, take a moment to think about what terms a reader might search to find your study. Make sure that the main point of your article is clear from the title. Read our article on How to Write a Great Title.
Write an abstract that draws readers in
Just like choosing a title, it’s important to consider what key words might lead a reader to your study, and to incorporate those into your abstract. Pay special attention to the first two lines of your abstract. Those first 30 or 40 words will show up in online searches and library databases. They could be the reason readers click through to read the rest of your article. (Some experts even suggest relocating your conclusions to the top of your abstract for this reason!) Read our article on How to Write an Abstract.
Augment your research with open data and methods
Efforts to incorporate raw data and detailed methods (such as protocols, study designs, or code) into the scientific record appeal to readers who hope to improve their understanding of an article, validate or reproduce the results, or adapt elements into their own work. A 2020 study showed that depositing data in a repository is correlated with a 25.36% citation advantage for the associated publication. While formalized methods sharing is somewhat newer, and has not been investigated to the same extent, it’s likely that increased visibility and reader-confidence may contribute to a similar advantage.
When you submit
Share early with preprints
Post your article on a preprint server like arXiv, bioRxiv, medRxiv, or OSF preprint. Preprints are a great way to establish priority for a new advance, disseminate results sooner, and attract readers. Research suggests that bioRxiv-deposited journal articles have a citation and altmetric advantage over those without preprints. Learn more about preprints.
Open Access (OA) is great for the research community–but did you know articles published under an Open Access license are cited 30% more often than similar articles published in closed subscription journals? Publishing Open Access is a great step toward making your research discoverable and accessible to all of the readers who need it. Read more about OA.
Share the good news with your co-authors
Coordinate with co-authors about promoting the manuscript and make sure they have the tools and information they need for publication day.
Seek media coverage
Contact your university or institution press office to ask how they can help spread the news about your paper. Let the PLOS Media Team know about any plans you may have. Visit our Author Media Toolkit for information on embargos and working with the media.
Consider creating supplementary content
Does your institution or lab have a blog or a podcast? If so, they’re probably hungry for content. Consider participating in an interview or writing a short blog post about your article. Remember, a blog doesn’t have to be a lot of work–a plain-language summary of your study, suitable for lay readers, and one or two topical highlights or key takeaways can be plenty.
Tip: Do you already have supplementary content? Depending on the type of research you do, you may have photos, videos, lab notebooks, deposited data, or other documentation that can add dimension and interest to the work. Consider incorporating these resources into blog or social media.
On publication day…and beyond
Know your elevator pitch
Take a few minutes to verbally summarize what your paper is about and why it’s important in just one or two sentences. That way, you’ll be ready in case any media attention comes your way. Plus, you’ll have a great answer next time someone asks what you’ve been working on.
Update your online profiles
Update your ORCID, ResearchGate, lab website, or other professional profile with your latest publication. Be sure to link your ORCID in your email signature, so your newest papers are always just a click away.
Tip: Update with ease. If you provided an ORCID and you’ve authorized PLOS to write to your ORCID profile, your newly published article will appear automatically.
Use Kudos to boost readership
PLOS offers all our authors access to the Kudos platform, where you can craft and share plain-language summaries of your research designed to help stakeholders beyond the research community find and understand your work. Posting on Kudos has been associated with 23% higher rates of article full-text downloads. To get started, you can join at no cost to yourself here. Alternatively, you will receive an email with a personalized link a few days after your article publishes.
Find out more about our partnership with Kudos here.
Share on social media
Link to your article on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social media sites you frequent. Be sure to tag us and use the author hashtags so we can help to amplify your message. Think about who else might be interested–it can also be helpful to tag co-authors, your institution, and your funder.
View the PLOS social accounts and hashtags.
Attending a conference in the next few months? Be sure to reference your paper in any speaker slides. If you’re attending in person, consider printing up a few copies of your article to give away at the meeting.
Share your experience
PLOS offers opportunities for authors to showcase their research through our online channels, including emails, social media, blogs, and websites. If you are interested in the possibility of providing a quote or participating in a written interview, please send a high-resolution photo along with your responses to the following questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- What first drew you to your field of research?
- What is your particular area of research, and why is it important?
- Has your and your peers’ work expanded discussion in the scientific community or the broader public?
- Is your research interdisciplinary? If so, how crucial are structures that support interdisciplinary review to the publication of your research?
- At what time in your career did you start thinking about Open Science, and why is it important to you?
Tip: Don’t forget to include your full name and academic affiliation as you’d like them to appear, your article DOI, and any social media handles you’d like us to tag