The Number of Tweets Predicts Future Citations of a Specific Journal Article
of journal articles and the impact factor are widely used measures of
scientific impact. Web 2.0 tools such as Twitter, Facebook, blogs and
social bookmarking tools provide the possibility to construct
article-level or journal-level metrics to gauge impact and influence.
Between 2008 and 2011, all tweets containing links to articles in the
Journal of Medical Internet Research (JMIR) were data mined.The tweets
were compared to subsequent citation data 17-29 months later.
4,000 tweets cited 280 JMIR articles. The distribution of tweets
followed a power law, with most tweets sent on the day when an article
was published (44% of all tweets in a 60-day period) or on the following
day (16%), followed by a rapid decay.
The Pearson correlations between "tweetations" and regular citations were moderate and statistically significant (0.42 to 0.72).
Highly tweeted articles were 11 times more likely to be highly cited than less-tweeted articles.
Top-cited articles could be predicted from top-tweeted articles with 93% specificity and 75% sensitivity.
Tweets can predict highly cited articles within the first 3 days of article publication.
Social media activity may:
- increase citations
- reflect the underlying qualities of the article
Social impact measures based on tweets are proposed to complement
traditional citation metrics. The study author proposed a "twimpact"
factor that measures uptake and filters research resonating with the
public in real time.
After the initial publication, some science blogs have pointed out
potential issues and conflicts of interests in relation to the topic and
the single author who is also the founder, owner, and Editor-in-Chief
of the journal. You can find more by performing a Google search for
"twimpact" factor or checking the references section at the end of this
post. Overall, I think this is an interesting concept and Gunther
Eysenbach did a great job focusing the attention of the journal
publishers on Twitter and Facebook as distribution channels that can
also guide in measuring the impact of their articles.
Can Tweets Predict Citations?
Metrics of Social Impact Based on Twitter and Correlation with
Traditional Metrics of Scientific Impact. Gunther Eysenbach. J Med Internet Res 2011;13(4):e123.
New research plus twitter. Does it make a difference in the clinic. Heidi Allen Digital Strategy in Health.
'Highly Tweeted Articles Were 11 Times More Likely to Be Highly Cited'. The Atlantic.
Twimpact factors: can tweets really predict citations? BMJ.
Tweets, and Our Obsession with Alt Metrics
Image source: Twitter.com.
Comments from Twitter:
@paediatrix: Interesting. Makes sense
Harris Lygidakis @lygidakis: And Twimpact Factor is a good sign of what's ahead!
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