, Volume 109, Issue 3, pp 1497–1510 | Cite as

Path analysis of the relationship between visibility and citation: the mediating roles of save, discussion, and recommendation metrics

  • Saeideh EbrahimyEmail author
  • Jafar Mehrad
  • Fatemeh Setareh
  • Massoud Hosseinchari


This study aimed to assess the mediating role of save, discussion, and recommendation measures in the relationship between visibility and citation in biomedical articles in 2009–2013. Path analysis method was used to assess the causal relationships between the variables in this descriptive correlational study. Systematic and random stratified methods were employed for sampling. The sample size was determined to be 1892 articles using the Cochrane formula and data were gathered by using the PLOS altmetrics. The study’s model fit indices showed that visibility influences citation both directly and indirectly through the mediating role of save. Discussion had a significant, negative role in the relationship between visibility and citation, and recommendation did not have any significant mediating role in this relationship. Among the social networks presenting altmetrics, it seems that networks such as Mendeley which provide a basis for saving scientific articles have an important and significant effect on the amount of future citations through visibility metrics. This is while social networks discussing scientific findings have a negative effect on the future citation of articles through visibility metrics. This asserts that social networks based on save have an influential role as the basis of scientific interaction.


Path analysis Visibility Citation Save Discussion Recommendation Mediation 


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Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Saeideh Ebrahimy
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jafar Mehrad
    • 1
  • Fatemeh Setareh
    • 1
  • Massoud Hosseinchari
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Knowledge and Information Science, School of Education and PsychologyShiraz UniversityShirazIran
  2. 2.Department of Educational Psychology, School of Education and PsychologyShiraz UniversityShirazIran

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