Can Twitter increase the visibility of Chinese publications?

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to investigate whether diffusion through social media can help to improve the international visibility of Chinese papers and thus increase their citation impact. After analysing 160,233 Chinese papers published in 2012, as well as the number of tweets and citations received, the results indicate that tweeted Chinese papers published in the same year and journal received around 15% more citations than Chinese papers not mentioned on Twitter. The citation advantage of tweeted Chinese papers is also found within various disciplines and by the different citing countries.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    In this study, China refers to Mainland China, which is the area under the direct jurisdiction of the People's Republic of China (PRC) but excluding Hong Kong and Macau.

  2. 2.

    People can occasionally access Twitter by using a virtual private network (VPN), but it is illegal in China.

  3. 3.

    Publication counts presented in this paper were based on the number of articles, notes, and review articles found, but exclude Editorials, book reviews, letters to the editor and meeting abstracts that are not generally considered original contributions to scholarly knowledge.

  4. 4.

    There is a possible issue pertaining to the accuracy of the data regarding the source countries of Twitter users, in that user can select any countries for their profile.

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Acknowledgements

This paper is an extended version of the paper presented at the ISSI2017 Conference. This study is supported by iFellows Doctoral Scholarship (11400674) provided by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Doctoral Research Scholarship (199349) provided by the Fonds de recherche société et culture Québec (FRQSC).

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Correspondence to Fei Shu.

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Shu, F., Lou, W. & Haustein, S. Can Twitter increase the visibility of Chinese publications?. Scientometrics 116, 505–519 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11192-018-2732-8

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Keywords

  • Twitter
  • Citation analysis
  • China
  • Altmetrics
  • Scientific impact