Journals On Topic

Discoverability: Not Just a Buzzword — an Important Piece of Your Publishing Strategy

When a scientific endeavor earns the right to be published in a journal, it is a shame when its target audience can’t easily find the paper. Your journal content’s discoverability is a key component of your publishing strategy as well as a factor in advancing related research. Luckily, you can help readers find and use your valuable content.

What is discoverability?

Discoverability is a characteristic of content that allows its intended audience to find it. For scientific research, it used to mean getting your research into the right print publications for a relevant audience to see. These days, it primarily means your content’s ability to be found via search engines, social media, or online data repositories. With the abundance of content available on the internet, it is important to have your content surface when someone is looking for research on your topic. As a publisher, you should be familiar with the ways readers can find your authors’ works.

How can you help readers find your journal content?

According to Simon Inger Consulting, readers arrive at your content via a variety of pathways. They may find you through Google or similar general search engines; Google Scholar, an academic search engine; or via your publisher website, social media, libraries, and online aggregators. In fact, readers are most likely to arrive within a journal web site at the article or abstract level. This provides a good opportunity for you to show off features and functionality. But with the plethora of related content, how do you get readers to yours?

You can enhance a potential reader’s ability to discover a particular piece of research within the vast sea of available content by including crucial keywords in the title, body, and abstract. You may suggest that authors provide well-constructed, declarative titles that not only include keywords but also “hook” potentials readers into wanting to read the article. You should also recommend authors use a consistent name and author profile across all their research to help readers discover further research by each author. Conferences and symposia are great venues for disseminating research results and enhancing your author and content visibility.

Metadata is also a key component of discoverability. Metadata is data about your journal and its individual articles — article title, publisher, author, and date as well as topics and keywords — that search engines use to find your content and display it in search results. Complete all metadata fields in the publication or directory content management system.

In addition to the abundance of content, time is another barrier to discoverability. Journal content takes months to get through editing and review stages. During that time, people searching for your results cannot find them. Encourage authors to pre-publish their research and findings in online research repositories. Disseminating this data and using it for further studies can help build anticipation for published articles.

Taking it a step further

Sometimes, people don’t know they need certain information or that it is available. Develop a social media strategy to spread the word about relevant research and develop a following for it — and try to get backlinks to it from related content. You can also send out an email with the upcoming journals’ tables of contents to let readers know what content is available.

And don’t forget mobile. More and more people now search for and access information from their mobile devices. Make sure your websites are responsive and optimized for mobile use.

From furthering research to promoting your journal, discoverability is a key consideration for publishers, authors, and the research community. Its importance can only continue to increase in size as the amount of online content continues to grow exponentially. Discoverability expertise will soon become a key requirement for publishing teams.

Contact your Sheridan representative for a consultation or visit our contact page to learn how Sheridan experts can help streamline and simplify your journal publishing processes.

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