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I am helping to organise a conference which has been running for a number of years. Conference papers are peer-reviewed by a well-respected review committee and the conference has a good reputation and attendance within the country. However, papers from the conference are rarely cited, don't rank highly in google scholar searches, aren't included in Scopus. For for example, my papers from this conference are read and cited less than some of my (frankly, lower quality) papers from other conferences.

We are exploring ways to increase the reach and citations of the conference papers.

Currently, the conference proceedings have an ISBN but are just published on our own website. We are exploring the option of publishing the proceedings as a special edition of a journal, but this is unlikely to happen this year.

Would it help if we assign DOIs for each paper and/or the conference proceedings? Does it matter which?

How do we improve search rankings on google scholar?

How can we get the proceedings included in scopus?

What else can we do to increase our reach?

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    This is understandable if the conference attracts only a small number of people and all are focused on some small area of research. If the community itself is fairly closed it will be harder to get visibility outside its boundaries. – Buffy Aug 6 at 0:33
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    If the conference doesn't have a reputation to begin with, its papers will not get read as much. To get a higher rank on Google Scholar, the papers simply need to be cited more. I don't think there's any other factor that affects the Scholar ranking? Getting the papers listed by Scopus (or some similar database relevant for your field) should help, if it's worth the effort. Other than that, I don't know if there is much you as an organiser can do. I'd say it's more up to the authors to "market" their papers -- e.g., make their peers want to cite them, put them on arXiv, ResearchGate, etc. – Supernormal Aug 6 at 7:07
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    Anonymity is generally a good thing, but this sort of question would probably not suffer from naming the conference or at least the research subject. Answerers familiar with the community, with the specifics of publishing in your field, and with Google Scholar SEO might then tell you specifically what you are doing wrong (if anything). – darij grinberg Aug 6 at 8:34
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    I think the main limitations are the national character of the conference and the fact that the papers don't appear in well cited journals. – Alchimista Aug 6 at 10:03
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    @Alchimista "the fact that the papers don't appear in well cited journals" Does not apply to all fields; in some fields (within computer science and electrical engineering) papers from good conferences' proceedings get cited as much as papers in good journals. – lighthouse keeper Aug 6 at 11:00
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Realistically, the main thing to increase the probability of the papers coming out of your conference being taken seriously is to:

  1. Convince a professional organization such as ACM, IEEE, or USENIX (to provide some examples for Computer Science, your field will surely have similar organizations) to print the proceedings and include them in their digital libraries (if existing), or
  2. Partner with a reputable journal to print your proceedings as some recurring special issue, or
  3. Have a really high-prestige organizing committee back your conference and vouch for the quality of papers.

In short, you will, unfortunately, need to piggyback on the prestige of some other entity (a publisher, a journal, or a bunch of well-known individuals) to get your proceedings off the ground.

To answer your specific suggestions:

Would it help if we assign DOIs for each paper and/or the conference proceedings? Does it matter which?

DOIs are cheap, and even many spam- or borderline-spam journals happily assign DOIs. I can't imagine this being seen as a seal of quality.

How do we improve search rankings on google scholar?

IIRC search rankings on Google Scholar are a combination of citations and match of the paper to the search query. I don't think there is much leeway to game the system (aside from citing previous papers in the conference, of course - but thinking this thought through to its natural conclusion quickly ends up in rather unethical practices).

How can we get the proceedings included in scopus?

I have little knowledge about Scopus given its low relevance to Computer Science in my area, but to the best of my knowledge they don't index proceedings at all?


I should also say that nowadays the barrier for national conferences (and if I understood your question correctly yours sounds like a national conference) to be taken seriously as a prime publication venue is extremely high. There is an abundance of international meetings to choose from, and most researchers choose those to publish their novel and exciting new results. National conferences are really meetings, first and foremost, not places to publish new results. Some of the more prominent national meetings in Computer Science have moved away from printing proceedings altogether, and focusing on what a conference should arguably be about in the first place - to present and discuss ideas and previous work, not to publish new results.

  • For point 1: There are serious disadvantages to professional society sponsorships for conferences outside the United States, despite the increase in visibility. Fortunately there are other alternatives like Dagstuhl’s LIPIcs series. – JeffE Aug 6 at 17:13
  • Thanks @xLeitix, this is helpful. It's a regional, rather than national conference, and does have some participantion from outside the region, but your point stands, and I think partnering with IEEE or similar may be the way forwards, though it does look as if SCOPUS indexes some proceedings so may be worth persuing.... – doctorer Aug 12 at 3:59
  • @doctorer I answered the question as you posed it, but really you should think about whether your regional conference needs highly cited proceedings? What goal are you trying to achieve with this? Does your field / your region need another highly competitive publication venue? Or does the meeting better serve the regional community if it is more inclusive, training- and discussion-oriented (for which competitive selection is arguably detrimental)? – xLeitix Aug 12 at 7:24

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