Keeping Track of Your Research Output

March 4, 2018

When you first start working in research, for example in the last years of your studies or when starting your Ph.D. project, you haven’t produced any research output yet.

Eventually, the research projects you are part of or your own research start to shape into actual research output, which may materialize into a conference abstract or paper. This further develops into a poster or talk to be presented at a conference, and later it may become a journal paper.

When you first publish or present some of your research, you likely remember the exact title of the paper or talk, exactly when and where it was published or presented, as well as the names of all co-authors of the contribution. There will be other publications and conference talks, however, and soon you won’t remember the details of one particular publication.

Therefore, you need to keep track of your research output, and you might as well start when you have produced your first research output.

For keeping track of your research output, I’ll cover and suggest the following points:

Document with publication list

In a document, keep a chronological – or better, in my opinion, a reverse-chronological – list of all of your publications. Split the list into a section for journal papers and another section for conference papers and abstracts.

In the lists, include all information about each publication, including all author names, name of the publication, where and when it has been published. Make the title or another part of the reference clickable as a link to the publisher’s page for the publication.

The document could be a stand-alone one that you can share upon request, but it could also be part of your CV. I keep my complete publication list in document form as part of a PDF with my CV.

Online publication list

As a supplement to the document-version of your publications list, keep an online list with the same information. Instead of having to send the document, whenever you want to share some of your work, it may be convenient to be able to simply send a link. Additionally, an online list might be easier to find when people search for a certain topic you have contributed to than a document that you may not even have made available online.

The online list should be complete with all information about each publication, as described for the document-list described in the previous section.

If you have your own homepage, it will be natural to have the list here. Alternatively, you can set it up using one of the many available services for setting up a personal CV or homepage (e.g. Google Sites).

I keep my online publication list as part of my personal homepage.

At my previous employer’s homepage, I have another online publication list, that, however, is incomplete and doesn’t contain all of my newest publications. So before setting up a site, for example using your current employer’s domain, think about what will happen to it when you change jobs.

Database with all publications

For use as references in new publications, it may be convenient to keep a database with all your own publications.

I keep my research databases – one from my Ph.D. project, another one for my current job – in JabRef and include my own publications together with all other references. I tag all references and have a specific tag for my own publications, to be able to easily filter them.

List of presentations and talks

Keep a list of presentations and talks you have given in relation to your work.

The list should include all presentations at conferences, workshops and similar meetings, including both oral and poster presentations. Whether on your own initiative or by invitation, also list talks you may have given when visiting other research groups and institutions.

Likewise, list the teaching and outreach presentations you may have given, for example as course lectures, guest lectures, high-school visits and similar.

The list could be kept in a separate document, as part of your CV document, or online. I keep my own list on my homepage. Sometimes, but not always, I share the slides from my presentations.

Google Scholar: Keep track of citations

Make a Google Scholar profile and let it keep track of citations of your work.

If you like ResearchGate or another service better, then go with that. But focus your effort on a single of these services and make sure that all your publications are available on your profile – and that nobody else’s publications appear on your profile! If you let Google Scholar automatically update your profile, you may end up with other researchers’ publications in your profile.

Altmetric: Know when others talk about your research

Use Altmetric to know when news outlets and blogs write about your research papers, or when people tweet about your work.

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