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To be or not to be on Twitter, and its relationship with the tweeting and citation of research papers


The objective of this paper is to understand the relationship between the diffusion and mention of research papers in Twitter according to whether their authors are members or not of that micro-blogging service. To that end, 4166 articles from 76 Twitter users and 124 from non-Twitter users were analysed. Data on Twitter mentions were extracted from PlumX Analytics, information on each Twitter user was taken from the own platform and citations were collected from Scopus public API. Results show that papers from Twitter users are 33 % more tweeted than documents of non-Twitter users. From Twitter users, the increase of followers produces 30 % more tweets. No differences were found between the citation impact (i.e. number of citations) of papers authored by Twitter users and non-Twitter users. However, the number of followers indirectly influences the citation impact. The main conclusion is that the participation on Twitter affects the dissemination of research papers, and in consequence, it indirectly favours the likelihood that academic outputs being cited.

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Correspondence to José Luis Ortega.

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Ortega, J.L. To be or not to be on Twitter, and its relationship with the tweeting and citation of research papers. Scientometrics 109, 1353–1364 (2016).

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  • Twitter
  • Altmetrics
  • PlumX Analytics
  • Citation impact
  • Research dissemination