Selective linking from social platforms to university websites: a case study of the Spanish academic system
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Mention indicators have frequently been used in Webometric studies because they provide a powerful tool for determining the degree of visibility and impact of web resources. Among mention indicators, hypertextual links were a central part of many studies until Yahoo! discontinued the ‘linkdomain’ command in 2011. Selective links constitute a variant of external links where both the source and target of the link can be selected. This paper intends to study the influence of social platforms (measured through the number of selective external links) on academic environments, in order to ascertain both the percentage that they constitute and whether some of them can be used as substitutes of total external links. For this purpose, 141 URLs belonging to 76 Spanish universities were compiled in 2010 (before Yahoo! stopped their link services), and the number of links from 13 selected social platforms to these universities were calculated. Results confirm a good correlation between total external links and links that come from social platforms, with the exception of some applications (such as Digg and Technorati). For those universities with a higher number of total external links, the high correlation is only maintained on Delicious and Wikipedia, which can be utilized as substitutes of total external links in the context analyzed. Notwithstanding, the global percentage of links from social platforms constitute only a small fraction of total links, although a positive trend is detected, especially in services such as Twitter, Youtube, and Facebook.