Altmetric Top 100

Find out which research caught the public imagination each year

About the Top 100

The Altmetric Top 100 is an annual list of the research that has most captured the public’s imagination each year, based on the data collected by Altmetric.

From academic rigor to shocking medical discoveries, from online “call out culture” to collective horror over the climate crisis, the only theme that these papers typically have in common is their ability to start conversations.

Explore the 2020 list

How we created the 2020 Altmetric Top 100

Last year, we announced our intent to explore new ways to determine the annual Altmetric Top 100. For this year’s list, we made some fundamental changes, which we describe here.

Accounting for disciplinary differences

It goes without saying that when we look back on 2020 in ten years time, we will remember the global pandemic and the huge part that our community played in bringing it to an end. In a year of lows, it’s important to remember the highs; in 2020, scientific research was front and centre in the global media as pharmaceutical companies rushed to find a vaccine for this deadly virus. 

But now, and in the future, it is also important to remember that other, important, research was also taking place. Research on racial justice, climate change, the origins of life, and other crucial issues also garnered attention in 2020.

In order to better reflect the diversity of research and attention it receives, we decide to move  away from a list that is simply ranked by overall Altmetric Attention Scores, to take into account disciplinary differences in how often research is shared online.  

For the 2020 Altmetric Top 100, we will be presenting the Top 5 articles by Altmetric Attention Score in each of 20 subject areas. The subject areas are automatically assigned by our sister company, Dimensions, based on information provided in abstracts and full-text, using the “Fields of Research” schema. There are 22 FOR codes; we combined four subject areas with high amounts of overlap into two subject areas (Biological & Environmental Sciences and Technology & Engineering), resulting in 20 total subjects.

Accounting for a full year’s worth of research

We have also changed the date of when we pulled the data for this list. In years past, we determined the Top 100 articles published between mid-November of the previous year and mid-November of the year in question, in order to release a list in December. This year, we decided we would use research published between 1 January and 31 December 2020—the full calendar year.

The past and future of the Top 100

You can find previous year’s Top 100 lists via the links below:

We’d love your input on the future direction of the Top 100! Please tweet us @altmetric with your thoughts, or send us an email at info@altmetric.com.