Twitter can help with scientific dissemination but its influence on citation impact is less clear – The Impact Blog at LSE

Extract from an article by José Luis Ortega

Researchers have long been encouraged to use Twitter. But does researchers’ presence on Twitter influence citations to their papers? José Luis Ortega explored to what extent the participation of scholars on Twitter can influence the tweeting of their articles and found that although the relationship between tweets and citations is poor, actively participating on Twitter is a powerful way of promoting and disseminating academic outputs, potentially indirectly influencing the scholarly impact and improving prospects of increased citations.

Many altmetric studies – meaning altmetrics in general rather than Altmetric.com specifically – have wrongly taken the conceptual framework of bibliometrics as a model to understand the meaning of alternative metrics. For example, it has been assumed that the mention of a research paper on Twitter is comparable to a bibliographic citation, taking for granted that a tweet can be an appreciation index and Twitter a kind of citation index (Eysenbach, 2011; Shuai et al., 2012). However, the processes that generate a citation are very different to a tweet. To have an article cited one must first conduct a study, write a paper and publish it in an indexed journal; whereas the mention of a paper on Twitter requires one only to write a short message. This difference could cause the greater intervention of authors in the mentions of their own papers, at least relative to the case of citations (i.e. instances of self-citation).

Starting from that hypothesis, my recent research explores to what extent the participation of scholars on Twitter can influence the tweeting of their articles, and, by extension, the likelihood of those articles being cited. To that end, 4,166 articles from 76 Twitter users and 124 non-Twitter users were analysed. These data were crawled using PlumX Analytics, which counts the number of tweets a document receives, whereas Scopus was used to extract citation numbers. Finally, a manual search was done to distinguish authors with a handle on Twitter from others not registered to that social network…(continues)

SOURCE: José Luis Ortega, “Twitter can help with scientific dissemination but its influence on citation impact is less clear”, The Impact Blog at LSE, 11 jan 2016

Link to full article

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