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How to Easily Add a Professional Scientific Publications List to Your WordPress Website

24 Apr 2019Tutorials - all, Tutorials - beginner, WordPress Plugins

One of the things that cannot be missing on an academic website – whether a site for a research project or a portfolio site for a researcher – is a publication list. The simplest way to put it online is, of course, just to copy your publication list from your CV to a WordPress webpage. However, there is a more convenient and professional way to present your publications, and that is by using teachPress, a free WordPress plugin developed by Michael Winkler.

The Advantages of Using TeachPress

There are several advantages to using this plugin rather than a simple bullet list to display your publications:

  • You can upload bibTeX files to add publications to your list (and visitors can copy a publication’s bibTeX from your site);
  • You can also include an abstract (in your input), which is put in a ‘drop down box’ that is initially closed, so that your publication list remains uncluttered;
  • Site visitors can select specific years, publication types and authors from your list;
  • You can display an automatically generated tag cloud on top of your publication list, which gives the site visitor a quick impression of the topics that you publish about;
  • teachPress comes with a widget that allows you to display your books in the sidebar of other pages.

Example of a teachPress list of scientific publications

In the image below an example of what the teachPress publication lists looks like. This example was taken from the site of a client for which I built a portfolio site (visit his publications page to examine the list in more detail).

In this example I have also added a picture of the cover of each book or journal to the publication. This takes some work, as such a picture is not included in bibTeX files and you would need to add it manually to each publication. This is of course optional, but I think it is worth the effort, especially if you are a humanities scholar and publish a lot of books.

How to Use the TeachPress Plugin

Here are the steps you need to take:

  1. Upload and activate the plugin (if you don’t know how to do this step, see here). TeachPress will add ‘Publications’ to the menu of your WordPress dashboard (it will add ‘courses’ as well, just ignore those – unless you have an interest in putting courses on your site)
  2. In the new menu under ‘Publications’ go to ‘Add new’ to add publications manually, or to ‘Import/Export’ if you have a bibTeX file with one or more publications. Add some publications.
  3. Now open the page where you would like to add your publication list for editing. We will use a so-called ‘short-code’ to display the publications. To display the publication list exactly as shown in the example above, you should use the following short-code:

    Sorry, no publications matched your criteria.


Where should I add this short-code, you may wonder. There are several options, depending on the settings of your WordPress website and your theme:

  1. If you use the WordPress classical editor, add it to the ‘text’ tab (and not the ‘visual’ tab);
  2. If you use the new WordPress Gutenberg editor, add a short-code block for this purpose (see here for instructions)
  3. If you use a page builder like the one included in the DIVI theme, there will also be a module for adding (short)codes to your post or page

Adjusting the Shortcode to Your Needs

The teachPress shortcode can be adjusted to your needs. For example:

  • If you want the maximum size of the tags in the tag cloud to be smaller, lower the number in maxsize=”40″;
  • If you would like a publication list without the tag cloud on top, use ‘tplist‘ instead of ‘tpcloud maxsize=”40″;
  • If you do not want to add an image to each publication, remove  image=”left” image_size=”150″ from the short-code.

There are various additional parameters available, for example to just display publications of a certain type, year or author.

Some Additional Tips & Tricks

In the example as I showed it above, the visitor of the site can just select publications by year and type. However, a standard teachPress publication list also lets visitors select publications by author and by the WordPress user who entered the publications. You may however feel that selecting publications by author is not useful on your site (for example, when it is your personal website as a researcher). And usually it also does not matter to the site visitor who the WordPress user is who entered the publications into the database.

If this applies to your site, you can add the CSS code below to hide the drop-downs to select by author and user. If you do not know how to do this, read this tutorial on how to add custom CSS code to your WordPress site.

.teachpress_filter #pub_author, .teachpress_filter #pub_user {display: none;}

However, the ability to select publications by the user who has entered the publications can sometimes be made useful. For example, a research project may have several sub-projects and would like to give site visitors the opportunity to select publications belonging to a certain sub-project. In that case, you could create fake WordPress users with the name of your sub-project, and log in as that user to add the publications belonging to that sub-project.

I hope this tutorial was useful to you! Thanks to Michael Winkler for making this excellent plugin freely available :-)


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