A very special thank you to ARC Laureate Fellow Professor Tamara Davis, who so graciously joined ARC Laureate Fellow Professor Sharon Parker in sharing practical tips on academic impact, summarised below:
Evidence-based tips from Sharon:
Aspire to publish in the best journals (this means learning the skills to write a better-quality article).
Develop a program of research that builds on your earlier work or is programmatic. Flicking from topic to topic makes it hard to get a reputation and network around that work.
Break big and broad questions (that will attract more citations) into smaller-sized chunks in a manageable way, keeping the focus on the big questions.
Advance the field by creating new methods or innovations that are going to make a difference.
Where possible, use and develop theory.
Focus on doing what you believe is most important and interesting. Commit to a theme that sustains your interest.
Being proactive by making sure your paper is available and communicating your paper can make a difference.
Resource(s) mentioned by Sharon:
How to get cited? - The four c's of citation impact (Harzing.com)
More tips from Tamara:
Impact comes in many forms - the foundation is doing research that advances your field as that influencing the direction your field takes, policy and many more.
Do great research. This will get you to a place where you have influence. Don’t try to guess what will have the most impact, just do something you’re excited by as that will lead to you doing a great job and getting others excited as well.
Be visible. Be the person people think of when thinking about your speciality. To do this you can publish, give talks at conferences, be interested in other people’s research, ask questions at conferences, collaborate, have a website, give public talks and school talks, get on radio, organise conferences (and invite all the big names in your field – no better way for them to get to know you!).
Work with great people. Be collaborative and be generous with your expertise. The more people you work with the more people know you and the higher your visibility in the field. Also working with great people means you’re likely to have some great projects together.
Have the best data. In astrophysics, it takes a minimum of 15 years to collect and analyse the data. The papers that come out after an effort like that are guaranteed to be high impact because no one else has that level of data. When you put in that much effort to your research, you will end up with an incredible data set. So, thinking on a large scale can be impactful.
Be generous with authorship. i.e., invite people to be authors who have contributed to the work. It is a good way to get more citations.
Make your work really useful and available to others. Make sure your data sets are available online, well documented, and easy for others to use. If you use computer code, make sure it is made public so other people can reproduce your results and build on them.