Characterizing Social Media Metrics of Scholarly Papers: The Effect of Document Properties and Collaboration Patterns

« A number of new metrics based on social media platforms—grouped under the term “altmetrics”—have recently been introduced as potential indicators of research impact. Despite their current popularity, there is a lack of information regarding the determinants of these metrics. Using publication and citation data from 1.3 million papers published in 2012 and covered in Thomson Reuters’ Web of Science as well as social media counts from, this paper analyses the main patterns of five social media metrics as a function of document characteristics (i.e., discipline, document type, title length, number of pages and references) and collaborative practices and compares them to patterns known for citations. Results show that the presence of papers on social media is low, with 21.5% of papers receiving at least one tweet, 4.7% being shared on Facebook, 1.9% mentioned on blogs, 0.8% found on Google+ and 0.7% discussed in mainstream media. By contrast, 66.8% of papers have received at least one citation. Our findings show that both citations and social media metrics increase with the extent of collaboration and the length of the references list. On the other hand, while editorials and news items are seldom cited, it is these types of document that are the most popular on Twitter. Similarly, while longer papers typically attract more citations, an opposite trend is seen on social media platforms. Finally, contrary to what is observed for citations, it is papers in the Social Sciences and humanities that are the most often found on social media platforms. On the whole, these findings suggest that factors driving social media and citations are different. Therefore, social media metrics cannot actually be seen as alternatives to citations; at most, they may function as complements to other type of indicators. »

URL : Characterizing Social Media Metrics of Scholarly Papers

DOI : 10.1371/journal.pone.0120495

Altmetrics in the wild: Using social media to explore scholarly impact

In growing numbers, scholars are integrating social media tools like blogs, Twitter, and Mendeley into their professional communications. The online, public nature of these tools exposes and reifies scholarly processes once hidden and ephemeral. Metrics based on this activities could inform broader, faster measures of impact, complementing traditional citation metrics. This study explores the properties of these social media-based metrics or « altmetrics », sampling 24,331 articles published by the Public Library of Science.

We find that that different indicators vary greatly in activity. Around 5% of sampled articles are cited in Wikipedia, while close to 80% have been included in at least one Mendeley library. There is, however, an encouraging diversity; a quarter of articles have nonzero data from five or more different sources. Correlation and factor analysis suggest citation and altmetrics indicators track related but distinct impacts, with neither able to describe the complete picture of scholarly use alone.

There are moderate correlations between Mendeley and Web of Science citation, but many altmetric indicators seem to measure impact mostly orthogonal to citation. Articles cluster in ways that suggest five different impact « flavors », capturing impacts of different types on different audiences; for instance, some articles may be heavily read and saved by scholars but seldom cited. Together, these findings encourage more research into altmetrics as complements to traditional citation measures.


Trends in Scholarly Communication and Knowledge Dissemination in…

Trends in Scholarly Communication and Knowledge Dissemination in the Age of Online Social Media :

« It is no secret that Online Social Media (OSM) has become mainstream in recent years, and their adoption has skyrocketed. As a result of their growing popularity, numerous studies have been conducted on how the general public is using OSM. However, very little work has been done on how scholars are using and adapting to these new tools in their professional life. In an attempt to fill this significant gap in the research literature, we recently conducted a comprehensive online survey to discover if, how and why scholars are using these new media for communication and knowledge dissemination. In particular, we focussed on how academics in the social sciences use social media tools for professional purposes, and the implications that this might have on the future of scholarly communication and publishing practices in the age of online social media. »


Social media: A guide for researchers : …

Social media: A guide for researchers :

« Social media is an important technological trend that has big implications for how researchers (and people in general) communicate and collaborate. Researchers have a huge amount to gain from engaging with social media in various aspects of their work.

This guide has been produced by the International Centre for Guidance Studies, and aims to provide the information needed to make an informed decision about using social media and select from the vast range of tools that are available.

One of the most important things that researchers do is to find, use and disseminate information, and social media offers a range of tools which can facilitate this. The guide discusses the use of social media for research and academic purposes and will not be examining the many other uses that social media is put to across society.

Social media can change the way in which you undertake research, and can also open up new forms of communication and dissemination. It has the power to enable researchers to engage in a wide range of dissemination in a highly efficient way. »


How and why scholars cite on Twitter : …

How and why scholars cite on Twitter :

« Scholars are increasingly using the microblogging service Twitter as a communication platform. Since citing is a central practice of scholarly communication, we investigated whether and how scholars cite on Twitter. We conducted interviews and harvested 46,515 tweets from a sample of 28 scholars and found that they do cite on Twitter, though often indirectly. Twitter citations are part of a fast-moving conversation that participants believe reflects scholarly impact. Twitter citation metrics could augment traditional citation analysis, supporting a “scientometrics 2.0”. »