A case study exploring associations between popular media attention of scientific research and scientific citations

Abstract:  The association between mention of scientific research in popular media (e.g., the mainstream media or social media platforms) and scientific impact (e.g., citations) has yet to be fully explored. The purpose of this study was to clarify this relationship, while accounting for some other factors that likely influence scientific impact (e.g., the reputations of the scientists conducting the research and academic journal in which the research was published). To accomplish this purpose, approximately 800 peer-reviewed articles describing original research were evaluated for scientific impact, popular media attention, and reputations of the scientists/authors and publication venue. A structural equation model was produced describing the relationship between non-scientific impact (popular media) and scientific impact (citations), while accounting for author/scientist and journal reputation. The resulting model revealed a strong association between the amount of popular media attention given to a scientific research project and corresponding publication and the number of times that publication is cited in peer-reviewed scientific literature. These results indicate that (1) peer-reviewed scientific publications receiving more attention in non-scientific media are more likely to be cited than scientific publications receiving less popular media attention, and (2) the non-scientific media is associated with the scientific agenda. These results may inform scientists who increasingly use popular media to inform the general public and scientists concerning their scientific work. These results might also inform administrators of higher education and research funding mechanisms, who base decisions partly on scientific impact.

The Sci-hub Effect: Sci-hub downloads lead to more article citations

Abstract:  Citations are often used as a metric of the impact of scientific publications. Here, we examine how the number of downloads from Sci-hub as well as various characteristics of publications and their authors predicts future citations. Using data from 12 leading journals in economics, consumer research, neuroscience, and multidisciplinary research, we found that articles downloaded from Sci-hub were cited 1.72 times more than papers not downloaded from Sci-hub and that the number of downloads from Sci-hub was a robust predictor of future citations. Among other characteristics of publications, the number of figures in a manuscript consistently predicts its future citations. The results suggest that limited access to publications may limit some scientific research from achieving its full impact.

 

Covid-19 Shows Scientific Journals Like Elsevier Need to Open Up – Bloomberg

“One big change brought on by Covid-19 is that virtually all the scientific research being produced about it is free to read. Anyone can access the many preliminary findings that scholars are posting on “preprint servers.” Data are shared openly via a multitude of different channels. Scientific journals that normally keep their articles behind formidable paywalls have been making an exception for new research about the virus, as well as much (if not all) older work relevant to it.

This response to a global pandemic is heartening and may well speed that pandemic to its end. But after that, what happens with scientific communication? Will everything go back behind the journal paywalls?

 

 

Well, no. Open-access advocates in academia have been pushing for decades to make more of their work publicly available and paywall-free, and in recent years they’ve been joined by the government agencies and large foundations that fund much scientific research. Covid-19 has accelerated this shift. I’m pretty sure there’s no going back. …”

You can publish open access, but ‘big’ journals still act as gatekeepers to discoverability and impact | Impact of Social Sciences

“Publishing trial data in big journals such as The Lancet and BMJ might make the data far more ‘discoverable’, and thus enhance the potential impact of publicly-funded research. There might therefore be value for researchers, policy-makers and the public in a publishing model that combines full open-access publication (a must for publicly-funded research, surely) with selective additional publication in certain, select, influential subscription journals (while being aware that ‘salami slicing’ publication strategies do not necessarily represent ‘good practice’). …”

You can publish open access, but ‘big’ journals still act as gatekeepers to discoverability and impact | Impact of Social Sciences

“Publishing trial data in big journals such as The Lancet and BMJ might make the data far more ‘discoverable’, and thus enhance the potential impact of publicly-funded research. There might therefore be value for researchers, policy-makers and the public in a publishing model that combines full open-access publication (a must for publicly-funded research, surely) with selective additional publication in certain, select, influential subscription journals (while being aware that ‘salami slicing’ publication strategies do not necessarily represent ‘good practice’). …”

Does Tweeting Improve Citations? One-Year Results from the TSSMN Prospective Randomized Trial – ScienceDirect

Abstract:  Background

The Thoracic Surgery Social Media Network (TSSMN) is a collaborative effort of leading journals in cardiothoracic surgery to highlight publications via social media. This study aims to evaluate the 1-year results of a prospective randomized social media trial to determine the effect of tweeting on subsequent citations and non-traditional bibliometrics.

Methods

A total of 112 representative original articles were randomized 1:1 to be tweeted via TSSMN or a control (non-tweeted) group. Measured endpoints included citations at 1-year compared to baseline, as well as article-level metrics (Altmetric score) and Twitter analytics. Independent predictors of citations were identified through univariable and multivariable regression analyses.

Results

When compared to control articles, tweeted articles achieved significantly greater increase in Altmetric scores (Tweeted 9.4±5.8 vs. Non-Tweeted 1.0±1.8, p<0.001), Altmetric score percentiles relative to articles of similar age from each respective journal (Tweeted 76.0±9.1%ile vs. Non-Tweeted 13.8±22.7%ile, p<0.001), with greater change in citations at 1 year (Tweeted +3.1±2.4 vs. Non-Tweeted +0.7±1.3, p<0.001). Multivariable analysis showed that independent predictors of citations were randomization to tweeting (OR 9.50; 95%CI 3.30-27.35, p<0.001), Altmetric score (OR 1.32; 95%CI 1.15-1.50, p<0.001), open-access status (OR 1.56; 95%CI 1.21-1.78, p<0.001), and exposure to a larger number of Twitter followers as quantified by impressions (OR 1.30, 95%CI 1.10-1.49, p<0.001).

Conclusions

One-year follow-up of this TSSMN prospective randomized trial importantly demonstrates that tweeting results in significantly more article citations over time, highlighting the durable scholarly impact of social media activity.

10 tips for tweeting research | Nature Index

“A paper presented earlier this month at the CHEST Congress 2019 in Thailand by researchers from the University of Toronto in Canada found that when authors tweeted about their own work, they saw as much as a 3.5-fold increase in tweets about their studies that year from other people, compared with authors who did not tweet about their studies at all….

A recent study by Finch and his colleagues investigating social media responses to ornithology papers found that Altmetrics – which measure attention received by a paper, including how many times it’s viewed, downloaded, or mentioned on social media, in blogs, news articles, and elsewhere online – not only complement traditional measures of scholarly impact such as citations, but might also anticipate or even drive them….

According to a 2018 study by Isabelle Côté from Simon Fraser University in Canada and Emily Darling from the University of Toronto, more than half of the average scientist’s Twitter followers are other scientists….”

 

Repository Analytics & Metrics Portal (RAMP)

“Montana State University, the Association of Research Libraries, the University of New Mexico, and OCLC Research have joined as partners to examine the difficulties that libraries face in producing accurate reports on the use of their digital repositories.

The Repository Analytics & Metrics Portal (RAMP) is a web service that improves the accuracy of institutional repository (IR) analytics and provides IR managers with the following capabilities:

Persistent access to accurate counts of file downloads from IR.
Implementation with minimal training or configuration.
The potential to aggregate IR metrics across organizations for consistent benchmarking and analysis….”

Repository Analytics & Metrics Portal (RAMP)

“Montana State University, the Association of Research Libraries, the University of New Mexico, and OCLC Research have joined as partners to examine the difficulties that libraries face in producing accurate reports on the use of their digital repositories.

The Repository Analytics & Metrics Portal (RAMP) is a web service that improves the accuracy of institutional repository (IR) analytics and provides IR managers with the following capabilities:

Persistent access to accurate counts of file downloads from IR.
Implementation with minimal training or configuration.
The potential to aggregate IR metrics across organizations for consistent benchmarking and analysis….”