Playing the citation game

Jordan Anaya
Nov 7, 2018 · 2 min read

One of my single-author, unfunded publications which isn’t indexed by PubMed and hasn’t been presented at any conferences is on track to become my most highly cited paper.

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The fact that you can do impactful work outside of academia and without funding isn’t what I’d like to highlight here; it’s the fact that I knew before publishing this paper that it would be highly cited.

I previously blogged about how I knew people would just use my tool to make Kaplan plots, and looking at how the paper is being cited that assumption seems to be correct. In grad school I saw a lot of people using cBioPortal to make Kaplan plots, and I saw how many citations cBioPortal was getting, so I figured if there was a better tool for making Kaplan plots people would probably use and cite that instead.

That’s not to say I published the paper just because I wanted a highly cited paper. When I was in grad school I wasn’t happy with cBioPortal so I decided to see if I could do better, and once I did it made since to go ahead and publish it since it’s free for me to publish at PeerJ.

And although most people don’t seem to be using OncoLnc in a useful way, you can’t let your concerns about how some people will use your work prevent you from making advances. For example, OncoLnc seems to have influenced this new portal, and some people use OncoLnc to check their data analyses.

I previously ranted about citation counts, and I think it’s damning that you can predict whether a paper will be highly cited even before you start the project. If your goal was to only publish papers you thought would get cited you could totally do that, and then probably become an endowed professor *cough* Wansink *cough*.

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