This is a highly stylized version of a communication I get in the blog email box now and again:
I love your blog, first time writer, long term reader, etc, etc.
Some bastards have published a paper claiming utterly novel findings and have TOTALLY IGNORED our published paper! How can we make these assholes pay seriously for their crimes?
...like I said, highly stylized. But it gets at the gist.
I get it.
As we all know, citations of our published papers are hella important for our careers, in the medium to longer term. And citations of our papers can have feed-forward consequences to engender even more citations. When you read a paper you tend to look at the papers it cites. If they are relevant to your work you tend to cite them in a subsequent paper. Maybe often. Maybe they become your go-to methodological or "foundational paper" citation. Do you always do an exhaustive search to make sure that you are citing the first observation*?
So when someone fails to cite you when they should** it costs you something. And particularly for people relatively early in their publishing careers, the cost seems very high. That's because you have few papers and the insult affects a high percentage. The career implications before getting a permanent job, tenure or that first grant may seem to be extremely pointed.
I understand the anger.
I understand the desire to get your deserved credit.
I understand the desire to make those bastards pay for their crimes against you. Sort of.
But you need to sit back and think about what steps you can take, what is the likely upside and what is the likely downside for you.
The bottom line is that you cannot force people to cite you in academic work. You can't force*** them to decide your work is most relevant or deserving of recognition in their own papers. You can't.
The high water mark of direct action is going to be getting a Letter to Editor type of thing published. In which you say "waaah, they should have cited us" or "they claimed priority but we published some thing vaguely similar before". Maybe, I guess, you might get an erratum or correction from the authors or the editors. If the field at large notices (and they mostly won't) they just roll their eyes at the authors. Maybe, just maybe, it results in one or two extra citations of your prior work. Maybe.
Again, I feel you. My work has gone uncited numerous times when it should** have been. This has a material effect on my h-index. My h-index has, at times, come into play in a very direct way in the furtherance of my career and indeed my salary, benefits, retirement, etc. Citations are potentially that important.
I. Get. It.
I also understand that we all can spin this same sort of yarn. And in a lot of cases, someone else in our field can "prove" that we screwed them by not citing their papers when we should** have. It's a normal and relatively impersonal situation in many cases. In the case of intentional bad actors, or people who feel compelled by career pressures to act badly, there is not much we can do about it.
Personally I try to take the medium road and the high road.
The medium road is the sort of semi-defensible record correcting you can take in your own papers. "As we first showed in...". "Doe et al confirmed/replicated our prior finding...". You can also do this any time you are presenting your work orally, from the platform or at poster sessions. In the latter, you just need to be careful about how much of this you do and how hard of a downbeat you put behind it. Don't look like a whiny baby, is my advice.
The high road is to make sure to minimize citation offense in your own publications. Like it or not, we have a priority convention. So cite the first paper, eh? What could this possibly cost you? This leaves you plenty of room to cite 1) your own vaguely related work and 2) whatever are the best citations for the point, regardless of priority, JIF or other convention. The high road also suggests you should cite those folks who you feel have not cited you the way that you deserve. Try to take pleasure in your high-minded scholarly approach. It can be enough.
*the citation of pre-prints is going to be an extra fun issue with respect to proper priority citation
**"should". Even the convention to cite the first paper to observe something relevant to your reason for citing is just an arbitrary convention.
***nope, not even in peer review. You can keep saying "reject" but that paper is eventually going to get in somewhere without citing you if the authors really don't want to do so.