The top 10 most shared and discussed articles of 2015 are:
- A new antibiotic kills pathogens without detectable resistance
- Autism Occurrence by MMR Vaccine Status Among US Children With Older Siblings With and Without Autism
- Accelerated modern human–induced species losses: Entering the sixth mass extinction
- Cancer etiology. Variation in cancer risk among tissues can be explained by the number of stem cell divisions
- Estimating the reproducibility of psychological science
- Plastic Pollution in the World’s Oceans: More than 5 Trillion Plastic Pieces Weighing over 250,000 Tons Afloat at Sea
- The geographical distribution of fossil fuels unused when limiting global warming to 2 °C
- An Efficiency Comparison of Document Preparation Systems Used in Academic Research and Development
- A Neural Algorithm of Artistic Style
- The Negative Association between Religiousness and Children’s Altruism across the World
The other research that caught the public’s attention in 2015 is:
At number two, a topic that has always been known to generate widespread controversy also featured in the list: a major study confirmed there is no harmful association between the MMR vaccine and autism spectrum disorder (ASD), even among children already at higher risk for ASD.
Environmental issues made a big impact too; at number six an investigation into levels of plastic pollution revealed that there are more than five trillion plastic pieces, weighing over 250,000 tons, afloat in our oceans.
Showcasing advances in our understanding of creative talent another article, ranked at number nine, detailed an artificially intelligent program that detected individual artistic styles, such as that of Van Gogh, and can adapt a photograph to match that style.
An article highlighting an association between religion and selfishness in children, came in at number ten whilst a study at number 15 identified the negative effects on both the quality of sleep and next day concentration of the use of eReaders at night; which may prompt caution for those gifting eReaders this Christmas.
Euan Adie, founder of Altmetric explained: “Altmetric tracks what people are saying about academic research online to provide additional insights to publishers, authors, libraries and institutions. The annual top 100 ranking is determined by the volume of coverage each article has received in the mainstream media, as well as shares and comments on blogs, Wikipedia, social media platforms (including Twitter, Reddit and Facebook), and in scholarly spaces such as post-publication peer-review forums.”
This year’s list features papers published in 34 different journals, with contributions from nearly 2,000 authors.
The rise of open research
Open access content makes up nearly half of this year’s Top 100, with 42 of the articles included published under a gold open access license. Some of those same articles are from relatively recently launched journals Science Advances, Open Heart, and Royal Society Open Science – demonstrating the rapid and far-reaching dissemination of openly available content amongst online communities.
Amongst the articles included in the list some key themes stood out. Much of the research that drew high levels of media attention focussed on environmental issues such as public waste and climate change, as well as the earth’s changing ecology.
Medical and public health issues, as expected, also generated a lot of discussion and engagement amongst wider audiences – particularly those that related to a growing focus on the application of antibiotics, and those that looked at the side-effects of vaccination.
A few of the studies that made the list received online attention for reasons you might not expect – a marriage proposal hidden in the footnotes of one article was quickly spotted and widely shared on social networks, and initial coverage of one exciting paper was later criticised for assigning credit disproportionately to the male author in the study.
View the full list at: www.altmetric.com/top100 #altmetrictop100