Social media might be the way to go for authors hoping to bump up the number of times their articles are cited by other articles. In a 6 Junepresentation at a Young Rheumatologistsession titled “Science communicationskills for young rheumatologists,” Dr. PaulStudenic will present data showing howAltmetric scores influencecitation rates in journals.
Altmetrics are nontraditional bibliometrics, designedto calculate scholarly impactbased on online attention. TheAltmetric Attention Score anddonut provide a collated recordof online attention. The colorfulbadge, which accompanies anincreasing number of journal papers online, offers readers a fullrecord of all original shares andmentions of an individual piece of scholarlycontent across a range of platforms, includingTwitter, Facebook, online news media, blogs,Google+, Mendeley, and others.
Dimensions badges, also found on journalsites, count citations from any kind of scientific or mainstream publication. Journalcitations remain one of the most recognisedproxies for impact in medical research.
Assessing data from over 2,000 articlespublished in the two official journals ofEULAR – Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases (ARD) and RMD Open – between January 2015 and November 2019, Dr. Studenic(@Stiddyo), of the Medical University ofVienna, and coauthor Dr. Caroline Ospelt(@CarolineOspelt), of University HospitalZurich, found that Altmetric AttentionScores are higher for articles publishedmore recently, with Twitter showing byfar the highest activity among the score’ssubcategories.
“The total number of Twitter mentionsincreased by 2. 8 per year from 2015 to 2019,indicating that more recently published articles were more often picked up on Twitter,”Dr. Studenic said in an interview. He notedthat only original tweets that link to an article are given a full count of 1, while retweetsor reposts have less impact on the score.
There are exceptions to this finding that
newer articles have higher scores than older
articles, he noted. A rheumatology article
with one of the highest Altmetric Attention
Scores (407) is a piece on the effect of ha-
bitual knuckle cracking that published in ARD
in 1990. “It has one of the most colourful
donuts with 42 news outlets, plus blogs,
tweets, Facebook pages, Wikipedia men-
tions, and Mendeley reads,” Dr.
Studenic said. But the article’scitation count is only 20.
“I would not say that the
Altmetric Score has anything
to do with the quality of the
study, it’s just a measure of
online popularity. So, you might
be a brilliant research team
that published a perfect study,
but it is not of that much inter-
est to editors, or it might not
be tweeted by the journal itself
because it was not found to be that interest-
ing. In this case you will get your citations
through your scientific community,” he said.
“Particularly if you look now at Altmetric Scores for what is being published onCOVID-19, the numbers do not represent atall any profoundness of scientific quality,but there is a lot of tweeting of these articles and a lot of attention,” he said.
Besides time since publication andAltmetric Attention Score, the type ofarticle also influences citation count, theresearchers found. The Altmetric AttentionScore is more likely to boost the citationrate for original research and editorials,but does little for correspondences.
The influence of Altmetric Attention Scoreon citation count of editorials added 16%to the 12% of variability explained by publication time. “We never found an effect forcorrespondence articles,” he added.
Online popularity is something more likely
to favour younger researchers, given their
greater engagement online, he said. But even
“if you aren’t on social media and you want
to build up a network, you can still do it by
other means and your manuscript will still
be seen, but I would say in that case that
the attention kind of runs behind your back,
whereas if you’re active on social media, you
can steer it more effectively.”
The study had no outside funding. Dr.
Studenic reported receiving research or
grant support from AbbVie, and Dr. Ospelt
reported receiving consultancy fees from
Social media attention increases citation
rates for rheumatology journal articles
An authorised publication of theEuropean League Against Rheumatism
Prof. Iain McInnes, United KingdomEULAR President-Elect
Prof. Annamaria Iagnocco, Italy
Chair, Scientific ProgrammeCommittee
Prof. John Isaacs, United KingdomChair, Abstract SelectionCommittee
Prof. Loreto Carmona, Spain
EULAR Congress News
Editor Jeff Evans
Associate Editor Gwendolyn B. HallArt Director Elizabeth LobdellProduction Manager Maria AquinoAssociate Publisher
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