When you publish an article, there are steps you can take to ensure that your paper is distributed and comes to the attention of people within your relevant academic networks. One way of doing that is to send people a copy of your paper. Don't feel shy about doing so, you are actually doing them a favor: they won't need to search for it or photocopy it in the library.
You should consider sending a copy to all your relevant academic friends and contacts:
- colleagues in your department
- authors you cited in your paper
- other researchers or scientists who have published on the same subject or are working in that field
- people/organizations who supported your research
- junior researchers who are developing skills in the same field
- your institute's librarian
- relevant special interest groups, online discussion forums, any professional bodies of which you are a member
- your superiors
- others who helped in the study
Most journals offer a reprint service - they will print off extra copies of your paper for you, provided that you order them in advance (and pay for them). If you have a list of potential recipients of your paper, you will know how many reprints to order.
If you plan to send copies to policy makers or other non-specialists, you should prepare a cover letter summarizing the paper in non-technical language, explaining why you think it is important they should know about the content of your paper.
Since most papers are found online through search engines and databases, it is very important to use good descriptive keywords that cover all the key concepts and contexts of the article. Your title should also be descriptive to facilitate a database search of your paper.
You should have a website within your organization or on your own where all your published work is easily downloadable. This is one way to save on reprint costs. However, you would need to send out a brief letter to those on your list informing them of your research so they will visit your website and download your paper.
For more detailed information regarding writing manuscripts for publication, please review some of our other articles at http://www.sfedit.net/newsletters.htm. These articles approach such subjects as Writing the First Draft, Writing Effective Results, Methods and Materials, Discussions, Selecting a Journal, Responding to Reviewers, etc.