When my colleagues first asked me to write a post on how to compile a publication list, I thought it was a bit of a strange question. After all, a publication list is just that right – a list of your publications that you compile.
But, on second thought, I realized there are a fair number of topics to discuss related to your publication list, as well as some best practices that I can share, so that you can avoid having to format and reformat the whole thing for different purposes. In addition, ideally it reflects your publication strategy and your research expertise.
First of all, if you are reading this and you have not published any (conference) paper yet: it is good to start thinking about this already, and compile your publication list as you go. On the other hand, if you have been publishing for a few years, and the thought of having to compile your publication list gives you a sinking feeling, I see you. However, it really is worthwhile to reserve two-three hours on your calendar some time in the upcoming month to work on this.
Let’s now go step by step in compiling your publication list.
Step 1: Identify the purpose of your publication list
Why are you compiling your publication list? Are you keeping your publication list as part of your track record (you should)? Will you add it to your CV? Remember that academic CVs are long and list everything we have ever done, so your publications should be on there. Or, are you preparing to apply for a certain academic position, or you giving an overview of your annual progress, or are you compiling your list for a tenure and promotion portfolio?
Step 2: Select what you will include
Depending on the purpose of your publication list, you need to either include everything you have ever published (journal papers, conference papers, special publications, book chapters, books, edited books, op-eds, editorials, technical reports, lab reports, …) or you need to make a selection. For a tenure and promotion package, you may for example only be asked to include your journal papers, but perhaps you will also be asked about certain metrics, such as your h-index and the number of citations (in total, or per paper).
Step 3: Select a format
How will you format your publication list? Is there a certain citation style that you will use (Harvard, APA, or perhaps a format prescribed for the document you are compiling your publication list for)? Will you order your papers in chronological order, or in reverse order? If you need to include the number of citations per paper, include that as part of the format as well.
Step 4: Compile your publications
If you are compiling your publication list for the first time, and you have already published a fair amount of papers, you can use a few tools. You can use Google Scholar, Scopus, and Web of Science to remember what you have published. In addition, you can look back at your agenda and in your archives to see which conferences you attended, and add the relevant conference papers. Now is a good moment as well to check if you have the final PDFs of all the papers you have published (you may need to reach out to a coauthor to make sure you have your copy).
Step 5: Regularly revisit your list
It is good practice to keep your list updated. You can either update your list once a year as you prepare for your annual evaluation, or you can add your papers every time you start working on a paper (and add (in progress) to the reference).
Step 6: Submit your papers to your university
If you have not regularly done so, it is good practice to submit the last copy you have of your paper after peer review (i.e the accepted version that has not yet been copyedited and formatted by the publisher) to your university for their records. Part of this work can be done automatically – for example, if your university uses the Elsevier product Pure, the API will take information from Scopus. Note that whichever publications that are not in Scopus will need to be manually submitted to your university.
Step 7: Check your online profiles
Now that we are working on our publication lists, you can as well take the time to check your publication profiles online – both profiles that are automatically aggregated and those you compile and maintain yourself. In Google Scholar, check for duplicates of papers and know that you can for example upload technical reports as well, if you want to make these easily findable.
Scopus automatically generates your profile, and you may find that sometimes it will make duplicate profiles for the same author. You can ask Scopus to combine multiple profiles. Also check if the citation count is correct – many times you will find “secondary sources” citing your work. These secondary sources can be sources that are not listed in Scopus, but many times these are just ill-formatted references. You can ask Scopus support staff to correct these errors manually.
In Web of Science, I have not had issues with poor reporting in my experience. It is perhaps good to know that Publons is integrated with Web of Science, so you can have your WoS profile reflecting your reviewing and editing efforts as well. You can easily get these counted by forwarding the “thank you for your review” email to firstname.lastname@example.org and the editorial decision email you signed to email@example.com.
ResearchGate also crawls the internet to compile your publication list. If you want to use ResearchGate (which seems to be a bit past its prime), you can regularly review your profile and make sure your list of papers is up to date.
If you want to add your papers to LinkedIn, know that there is a section with publications. However, I find that keeping a full list of papers on LinkedIn does not bring me any added value, and I stopped adding my publications somewhere around 2018. I do share the link of a paper when it is freshly published with my network in a LinkedIn post.
Finally, if you keep a personal website or blog, you can consider keeping a publication list on there. I found that this practice creates too much duplicate information, so I simply link to my other profiles.
With these steps, you will be able to compile and maintain your publication list as well as your online publication lists.