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Twitter Predicts Citation Rates of Ecological Research

Overview of attention for article published in PLOS ONE, November 2016
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About this Attention Score

  • In the top 5% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (99th percentile)
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (99th percentile)

Mentioned by

news
3 news outlets
blogs
13 blogs
twitter
1223 tweeters
facebook
9 Facebook pages
googleplus
6 Google+ users
reddit
1 Redditor

Citations

dimensions_citation
112 Dimensions

Readers on

mendeley
256 Mendeley
citeulike
1 CiteULike
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Title
Twitter Predicts Citation Rates of Ecological Research
Published in
PLOS ONE, November 2016
DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0166570
Pubmed ID
Authors

Brandon K. Peoples, Stephen R. Midway, Dana Sackett, Abigail Lynch, Patrick B. Cooney

Abstract

The relationship between traditional metrics of research impact (e.g., number of citations) and alternative metrics (altmetrics) such as Twitter activity are of great interest, but remain imprecisely quantified. We used generalized linear mixed modeling to estimate the relative effects of Twitter activity, journal impact factor, and time since publication on Web of Science citation rates of 1,599 primary research articles from 20 ecology journals published from 2012-2014. We found a strong positive relationship between Twitter activity (i.e., the number of unique tweets about an article) and number of citations. Twitter activity was a more important predictor of citation rates than 5-year journal impact factor. Moreover, Twitter activity was not driven by journal impact factor; the 'highest-impact' journals were not necessarily the most discussed online. The effect of Twitter activity was only about a fifth as strong as time since publication; accounting for this confounding factor was critical for estimating the true effects of Twitter use. Articles in impactful journals can become heavily cited, but articles in journals with lower impact factors can generate considerable Twitter activity and also become heavily cited. Authors may benefit from establishing a strong social media presence, but should not expect research to become highly cited solely through social media promotion. Our research demonstrates that altmetrics and traditional metrics can be closely related, but not identical. We suggest that both altmetrics and traditional citation rates can be useful metrics of research impact.

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 1,223 tweeters who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 256 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
United Kingdom 4 2%
Spain 2 <1%
United States 2 <1%
Australia 1 <1%
South Africa 1 <1%
Brazil 1 <1%
Germany 1 <1%
Denmark 1 <1%
Switzerland 1 <1%
Other 2 <1%
Unknown 240 94%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Researcher 45 18%
Student > Ph. D. Student 39 15%
Student > Master 27 11%
Student > Bachelor 23 9%
Other 20 8%
Other 71 28%
Unknown 31 12%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Agricultural and Biological Sciences 70 27%
Social Sciences 35 14%
Computer Science 22 9%
Medicine and Dentistry 15 6%
Environmental Science 13 5%
Other 52 20%
Unknown 49 19%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 827. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 27 July 2022.
All research outputs
#16,610
of 21,799,263 outputs
Outputs from PLOS ONE
#250
of 186,280 outputs
Outputs of similar age
#394
of 315,083 outputs
Outputs of similar age from PLOS ONE
#7
of 3,713 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 21,799,263 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 99th percentile: it's in the top 5% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 186,280 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 14.7. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 99% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 315,083 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 99% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 3,713 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 99% of its contemporaries.