Do traditional scientometric indicators predict social media activity on scientific knowledge? An analysis of the ecological literature
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Traditional citation-based indicators and activities on Online Social Media Platforms (OnSMP; e.g. Twitter) have been used to assess the impact of scientific research. However, the association between traditional indicators (i.e., number of citations and journal impact factor) and the new OnSMP metrics still deserve further investigations. Here, we used multivariate models to evaluate the relative influence of collaboration, time since publication and traditional indicators on the interest of 2863 papers published in five ecological journals from 2013 to 2015 as given by nine OnSMP. We found that most activities were concentrated on Twitter and Mendeley and that activities in these two OnSMP are highly correlated. Our results indicate that traditional indicators explained most of the variation in OnSMP activity. Considering that OnSMP activities are high as soon as the articles are made available online, contrasting with the slow pace in which the citations are accumulated, our results support the use of activities on OnSMP as an early signal of research impact of ecological articles.
KeywordsCitation rates Altmetric Social networks Science evaluation Ecology
We thank the anonymous reviewer for criticisms that improved the manuscript. KBM thanks Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES) for Doctoral scholarships. JCN, FBT, LMB, JAFDF were supported by productivity fellowships of Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq). VHMP was supported by University Research and Scientific Production Support Program (PROBIP/UEG). This paper was developed in the context of National Institutes for Science and Technology (INCT) in Ecology, Evolution and Biodiversity Conservation, supported by MCTIC/CNPq (Proc. 465610/2014-5) and Fundação de Amparo a Pesquisa do Estado de Goiás (FAPEG).
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