3 Tips for Hiding Your Research Publications

As we all know, the most important part of publishing research is making sure that no one ever reads or cites it. After all, it’d be awful if anyone actually saw the end result of months or even years of your effort. So keep these tips in mind the next time you author a publication.

1. Don’t post the PDF

What ever you do, don’t upload the PDF to your personal or institution website or an open access repository. I mean, how awful would it be if someone could just Google the title and find the complete document? When someone isn’t sure if an article is relevant to their research, it’s critical that accessing a PDF be as difficult and time consuming as possible. Your goal is to make the menacingly literate give up and turn to someone else’s article.

Backup option: If your co-author accidentally copies the file to their website, all is not lost. Just make sure that no other co-author uploads it. That way, when they change institutions, leave academia, or just rearrange their site, the PDF will likely be lost in the shuffle. Phew!

2. Don’t make a personal website

Could you imagine how horrible it would be if after finding one of your papers, someone could then quickly peruse other publications you’ve written on similar topics?

This nightmare might seem laughably unlikely due to the hurdles of making a website. But with modern easy-to-use site builders, it would only take five minutes and no coding to make your research publicly available for free. You should shiver at the thought of how close your research is to the precipice of visibility. Yikes!

3. Avoid open access publication venues

Closed access publishers are allies in the fight to keep research hidden. By restricting where and how a publication can be uploaded, they help prevent most people from accessing it. Keeping your article locked behind a paywall keeps it away from clutches of non-academics, academics who work off campus, and even some campuses who don’t fork over the large ransoms demanded by publishers.

In case someone manages to jump through all of these hoops, don’t worry. Publishers’ websites are often slow, badly designed navigational mazes. Better yet, some publishers set up decoy sites that are prioritized on Google. Even if a university purchases access from a publisher, the decoy website will make it look like the publication is inaccessible. Way to give 110%!

It takes effort

You need to be very vigilant to ensure that your publications stay hidden. With the many different ways that publications can wind up online and the minimal effort required, your research will only stay hidden if you choose to hide it.

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1 thought on “3 Tips for Hiding Your Research Publications

  1. Fares Alahdab, MD

    Hahaha, what great tips!
    There’s of course also the good old method of NOT PUBLISHING your work! Especially if that is showing negative results or replicating previous research.

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