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PhD Students: Add a Reference to Your Future PhD into Papers

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When I was working on my PhD between 2009 and 2012, I wrote some papers on the topic of Personal Information Management (PIM). Those papers resulted in my PhD thesis in late 2012. Of course, the thesis summarized all important findings of all papers, adding decent introduction chapters, summary, and all kinds of interesting stuff related to the topic.

Unfortunately, I was not able to stay in academia. Therefore, I was not able to promote my PhD thesis the way I promoted my papers. In academia, the usual way of promoting is self-citations in follow-up papers that get published in conference proceedings or journals, and then getting cited by peer researchers.

This resulted in an unfortunate situation: my most cited papers are not the end result, the PhD thesis.

In fact, my most cited papers are in-between results that show only a sub-set of the bigger picture I was developing during my research. For example, the most cited paper related to tagging was "just" for a poster session. It got cited at least over five times more often than my PhD thesis. It even made it into really cool books.

I wish that everybody who likes to cite my research work on TagTrees would cite my PhD thesis instead.

So, if you are working on a paper and you are planning to include its content in a thesis that summarizes all of your papers later-on, you might want to add a note to your papers.

It is clear that you don't have the title of your thesis yet. However, you can add a web page of the project or just a hint to look out for a thesis. Adding the approximate month or year of your thesis helps a lot as well. As long as your thesis is not out, people are able to cite your paper as usual. When you've got diligent readers, they are recognizing your comment and read and cite the thesis instead, when the date of your final thesis is in the past. If not: At least you have tried.

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