This is a guest post from Simon Porter,VP Academic Relationships and Knowledge Architecture at Digital Science.
It’s been just over a month since attention surrounding articles published in the The Conversation was first tracked by Altmetric, so it seems a good time to see how well this new form of publishing does in engaging the public when compared to other titles in the database. As The Conversation’s mission is to “break down the barriers to expert knowledge and opinion – to make it easier for academics to communicate their expertise to a more diverse audience”, it is likely that their ability to engage the public should will be very good. But how good, how does it compare to standard research publications that are also tracked in Altmetric, and what does this mean for individual institutions?
Using the Altmetric Explorer, and filtering for articles mentioned in the last month, The Conversation compares favourably with Nature and Science both in terms of engagement with individual articles and number of articles that have been mentioned.
Using the Altmetric API, we can also compare the total articles mentioned and portion of Altmetric score gained in the last week from The Conversation to all of the articles indexed in PubMed. The results are equally impressive: The Conversation represents 6% of articles, but 30% of accumulated Altmetric Score:
Which institutions are benefiting from attention in The Conversation?
As articles in The Conversation are typically authored by single researchers, using a combination of the Altmetric API, and affiliation metadata stored on The Conversation articles themselves, it is possible to show which institutions are benefiting most (this week). Listing the top 30 with supplementary data from Digital Science’s GRID dataset, it is easy to see a predominance of Universities from Australia and the UK:
Looking back over the last month for the top ten of these institutions in the last week, that data suggests that that The Conversation is also providing a reasonable measure of consistent attention to researchers at these institutions over time:
So if you are considering strategies to increase engagement with research at your institution, should you encourage your researchers to consider contributing to The Conversation?
Based on the data in Altmetric, the answer would be Yes!