Stating your case: Argue for quality

Publish or Perish tutorial

Note: This tutorial was originally written for Publish or Perish v4 and all screenshots come from this version. However, the information as such is also applicable for later versions of Publish or Perish.

If you have only a few citations in either ISI or Google Scholar, it might be worth tracking each of them down to see who is citing your work and in which outlets.

Quality of citations

It is more impressive when many of your citations occur in the top journals in your field or if some famous academics in your field cite your articles. Some of the fame and quality image of the journals and of the academics citing your work might rub off on you in the eyes of your evaluation committee.

Find out who is citing your work

In order to find out who is citing your work, right-click on the work in question and click Lookup Citations.


This opens a new window that allows you to pick a descriptive title for this search. When you click OK, Publish or Perish will retrieve all citing works.


Please use this option sparingly as it does put substantial additional strain on Google Scholar. Whilst it is possible to look up citations for your whole publication list, we do not recommend this if you have more than a few hundred citations. It will take a long time and puts unnecessary strain on Google Scholar.

Quality of outlets

If you have very few citations, you may instead need to focus on the quality of the journals that your work appeared. In general, this is not appropriate, as some papers in top journals never get cited.

Use journal impact factor to argue for future impact

However, on average papers in top journals get cited more than papers in lower-ranked journals. That’s why these journals have higher Journal Impact Factors. Therefore, if your work has been published in high-impact journals, you can make the case that it is more likely that your work will be highly cited in the future.

Quality versus impact arguments

In addition, you should of course make the argument that these journals have generally higher quality standards for the work they publish and a more rigorous review process. However, that’s a quality argument, not a citation impact argument, and although the two are related, they are not necessarily identical.

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