, Volume 109, Issue 3, pp 2007–2030 | Cite as

Can alternative indicators overcome language biases in citation counts? A comparison of Spanish and UK research

  • Amalia Mas-Bleda
  • Mike Thelwall


This study compares Spanish and UK research in eight subject fields using a range of bibliometric and social media indicators. For each field, lists of Spanish and UK journal articles published in the year 2012 and their citation counts were extracted from Scopus. The software Webometric Analyst was then used to extract a range of altmetrics for these articles, including patent citations, online presentation mentions, online course syllabus mentions, Wikipedia mentions and Mendeley reader counts and was used to extract Twitter mentions. Results show that Mendeley is the altmetric source with the highest coverage, with 80 % of sampled articles having one or more Mendeley readers, followed by Twitter (34 %). The coverage of the remaining sources was lower than 3 %. All of the indicators checked either have too little data or increase the overall difference between Spain and the UK and so none can be suggested as alternatives to reduce the bias against Spain in traditional citation indexes.


Altmetrics Social media metrics Alternative indicators Country comparison Language bias Research production 


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Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Statistical Cybermetrics Research Group, School of Mathematics and Computer ScienceUniversity of WolverhamptonWolverhamptonUK

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