Immunology and social networks: an approach towards impact assessment

  • José Andrés Ordoñez-Gutiérrez
  • Juan Manuel Oviedo-Moreno
  • Daniela Patino-HernandezEmail author
  • Daniel Gerardo Fernández-Ávila
Observational Research


Scientific journals have changed the mechanisms they use for distribution and dissemination of information. Different approaches towards determining impact have emerged and among these, metrics derived from activity on social media are an emerging trend. This article aims to assess whether a correlation exists between the traditional impact factor and activity on social media. We assessed journals categorized within the area of “immunology” on the SCImago Journal and Country Rank website. Variables reflecting traditional and alternative measures of impact were collected. Differences between journals with and without social networks were assessed using non-parametric Mann–Whitney U tests. Correlation was assessed through Spearman tests. 156 journals were analyzed, 17% had at least one social network. 48.2% of journals with social networks were classified within SJR’s quartile 1. An almost perfect correlation was found between the SJR and the number of followers on Twitter, this correlation remained statistically significant after adjusting for time since creation of the account [Spearman’s correlation (rs) = 0.83]. We propose the use of Twitter as a mechanism for dissemination of information by immunology journals, as well as other social networks for their potential to increase their audience, as well as the dissemination and impact of their publications.


Immunology Social networks Impact factor Mass media Social media 


Author contributions

JAO and JMO: acquisition, and interpretation of data for the work, drafting the work, final approval of the version to be published, and agreed to be accountable for all aspects of the work; DGF: conception and design, and interpretation of data for the work, drafting the work, final approval of the version to be published and agreed to be accountable for all aspects of the work; DP: acquisition, and interpretation of data for the work, design and drafting of the work, final approval of the version to be published and agreed to be accountable for all aspects of the work.


This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Ethical approval

The ethics and research committee of our institution approved the study protocol.

Research involving human participants

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary Fig. 1 Inclusions and exclusions


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Semillero de Neurociencias y Envejecimiento, Ageing InstitutePontificia Universidad JaverianaBogotáColombia
  2. 2.Internal Medicine DepartmentHospital Universitario San IgnacioBogotáColombia
  3. 3.Rheumatology Unit, Internal Medicine DepartmentHospital Universitario San IgnacioBogotáColombia

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