Have you just published? Help your paper sail far and wide

Have you just published? Help your paper sail far and wide

Javier is at the end of his PhD. His efforts in the lab led to very satisfying results, and he cannot wait to get them published. If he can get his paper before his PhD defense, he stands a very good chance to reach the highest mark. The light shines at the end of the tunnel, and his long‐coveted holiday in Greece will soon turn into reality.

Sarah is at her second postdoc and is looking forward to becoming an independent scientist and leading a lab of her own. She is applying for positions at prestigious institutes and hopes that her publications will stand up to the interviewers’ expectations.

Both Javier and Sarah have done excellent work and are very pleased with their papers. However, both of them tend to consider their published articles as finish lines, as closed and self‐contained objects that will shine on their own. Once their data is published, they can move on. While this is not necessarily untrue (Javier can certainly go on holiday and Sarah may be successful in her job search), there are aspects that they have not considered, which could further enhance the value and outreach of their work.

The advances in technology, the exponential proliferation of scientific journals, and the deluge of information we deal with on a daily basis can easily steal attention away from Javier’s and Sarah’s valuable data. In addition, it has been widely accepted by DORA signatories that the worth of a scientific paper should not be judged by the impact factor of the journal it is published in, but rather by the attention it receives, the citations it gets, and the impact it has on future research 1. Perhaps we can offer Javier and Sarah some useful advice on how to make their work stand out and be noticed.


Ruffell, D. (2019) Have you just published? Help your paper sail far and wide. FEBS Lett 593, 1269-1271.

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Go to the profile of Angel Herráez
over 4 years ago

Thanks. Great point.

I just hope that the views common in forums like these (and like those of DORA signatories) will soon reach the national certification authorities, who are still enforcing the impact factor as the only measure of quality to be considered for professional promotion.