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The Quest for Extraterrestrial Life: What About the Viruses?

Overview of attention for article published in Astrobiology, August 2013
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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 (95th percentile)
  • Good Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (72nd percentile)

Mentioned by

2 news outlets
6 tweeters
1 Facebook page
2 Wikipedia pages
1 Google+ user


11 Dimensions

Readers on

36 Mendeley
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The Quest for Extraterrestrial Life: What About the Viruses?
Published in
Astrobiology, August 2013
DOI 10.1089/ast.2012.0959
Pubmed ID

Dale Warren Griffin


Recently, viruses have been recognized as the most numerous entities and the primary drivers of evolution on Earth. Historically, viruses have been mostly ignored in the field of astrobiology due to the view that they are not alive in the classical sense and if encountered would not present risk due to their host-specific nature. What we currently know of viruses is that we are most likely to encounter them on other life-bearing planets; that while some are exquisitely host-specific, many viruses can utilize hundreds of different host species; that viruses are known to exist in our planet's most extreme environments; and that while many do not survive long outside their hosts, some can survive for extended periods, especially in the cold. In our quest for extraterrestrial life, we should be looking for viruses; and while any encountered may pose no risk, the possibility of an encounter with a virus capable of accessing multiple cell types exists, and any prospective contact with such an organism should be treated accordingly.

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 6 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 36 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
United States 2 6%
Brazil 2 6%
Mexico 1 3%
France 1 3%
Russia 1 3%
Canada 1 3%
Unknown 28 78%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Researcher 15 42%
Student > Ph. D. Student 7 19%
Student > Bachelor 6 17%
Professor 3 8%
Student > Postgraduate 3 8%
Other 5 14%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Agricultural and Biological Sciences 15 42%
Chemistry 4 11%
Unspecified 4 11%
Physics and Astronomy 4 11%
Philosophy 2 6%
Other 10 28%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 30. 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 20 January 2018.
All research outputs
of 12,390,159 outputs
Outputs from Astrobiology
of 812 outputs
Outputs of similar age
of 150,972 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Astrobiology
of 18 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 12,390,159 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 96th percentile: it's in the top 5% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 812 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 32.4. This one has done well, scoring higher than 80% 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 150,972 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 95% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 18 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has gotten more attention than average, scoring higher than 72% of its contemporaries.