Why highly cited articles are not highly tweeted? A biology case

Abstract

Altmetrics is an emerging topic that has generated much interest. Most of the studies, however, have focused on the comparison of altemetric indicators with traditional citation metrics and few have explored the factors influencing altmetric performance. This study investigates the dissemination pattern of scientific articles on social medial, and is particularly focused on highly tweeted articles and highly cited articles. Based on bibliometric and altmetric data collected for over 40,000 articles in the field of biology, we found that the timing of tweets and the type of Twitter accounts affect the amount of attention that a scientific publication receives on social media. Articles with a large number of tweets tend to be the ones receiving immediate social media exposure and are often tweeted by journal associated organization accounts or other individual accounts with a large number of followers. By contrast, highly cited articles in general are neither tweeted timely nor promoted by their respective journal accounts.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4

Notes

  1. 1.
    1. (1)

      Member of the public: someone who does not link to scholarly literature and does not fit any of the categories below.

    2. (2)

      Scientist: someone who is familiar with the literature.

    3. (3)

      Practitioner: a clinician or researcher who is working in clinical science.

    4. (4)

      Science communicator: someone who links frequently to scientific articles from a variety of different journals or publishers.

References

  1. Bar-Ilan, J., Haustein, S., Peters, I., Priem, J., Shema, H., & Terliesner, J. (2012). Beyond citations: Scholars’ visibility on the social web. arXiv:1205.5611.

  2. Bavelas, A. (1948). A mathematical model for group structures. Human Organization, 7(3), 16–30.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Bavelas, A. (1950). Communication patterns in task-oriented groups. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 22(6), 723–730.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Bernal, J. D. (1939). The social function of science. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd.

    Google Scholar 

  5. Bornmann, L. (2013). What is societal impact of research and how can it be assessed? A literature survey. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 64(2), 217–233.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Bornmann, L. (2014a). Do altmetrics point to the broader impact of research? An overview of benefits and disadvantages of altmetrics. Journal of Informetrics, 8(4), 895–903.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Bornmann, L. (2014b). Is there currently a scientific revolution in scientometrics? Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology, 65(3), 647–648.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Bornmann, L. (2014c). Validity of altmetrics data for measuring societal impact: A study using data from Altmetric and F1000Prime. Journal of Informetrics, 8(4), 935–950.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Bornmann, L., & Haunschild, R. (2017). Does evaluative scientometrics lose its main focus on scientific quality by the new orientation towards societal impact? Scientometrics, 110(2), 937–943.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Bornmann, L., Schier, H., Marx, W., & Daniel, H.-D. (2012). What factors determine citation counts of publications in chemistry besides their quality? Journal of Informetrics, 6(1), 11–18.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Callaham, M., Wears, R. L., & Weber, E. (2002). Journal prestige, publication bias, and other characteristics associated with citation of published studies in peer-reviewed journals. JAMA, 287(21), 2847–2850.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Chapa, J., Haq, Z., & Cifu, A. S. (2017). Comparative analysis of the factors associated with citation and media coverage of clinical research. Scientometrics, 112(3), 1271–1283.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Costas, R., Zahedi, Z., & Wouters, P. (2015). Do “altmetrics” correlate with citations? Extensive comparison of altmetric indicators with citations from a multidisciplinary perspective. Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology, 66(10), 2003–2019.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Fenner, M. (2014). Altmetrics and other novel measures for scientific impact. In S. Bartling & S. Friesike (Eds.), Opening science: The evolving guide on how the internet is changing research, collaboration and scholarly publishing (pp. 179–189). Heidelberg: Springer.

    Google Scholar 

  15. Frank, C., & Nason, E. (2009). Health research: Measuring the social, health and economic benefits. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 180(5), 528–534.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Freeman, L. C. (1978). Centrality in social networks conceptual clarification. Social Networks, 1(3), 215–239.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Glänzel, W., & Schubert, A. (2001). Double effort = double impact? A critical view at international co-authorship in chemistry. Scientometrics, 50(2), 199–214.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Haustein, S., Peters, I., Sugimoto, C. R., Thelwall, M., & Larivière, V. (2014). Tweeting biomedicine: An analysis of tweets and citations in the biomedical literature. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 65(4), 656–669.

    Google Scholar 

  19. HEFCE. (2011). Decisions onassessing research impact. Bristol: Higher Education Funding Council for England.

    Google Scholar 

  20. Leavitt, H. J. (1951). Some effects of certain communication patterns on group performance. The Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 46(1), 38–50.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Massey, W. E. (1989). Science education in the United States: What the scientific community can do. Science, 245(4921), 915–921.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Moed, H. F. (2016). Altmetrics as traces of the computerization of the research process. In C. R. Sugimoto (Ed.), Theories of informetrics and scholarly communication. A Festschrift in honor of Blaise Cronin (pp. 360–371). Berlin: De Gruyter.

    Google Scholar 

  23. Mohammadi, E., & Thelwall, M. (2013). Assessing non-standard article impact using F1000 labels. Scientometrics, 97(2), 383–395.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Neuhaus, C., & Daniel, H.-D. (2009). A new reference standard for citation analysis in chemistry and related fields based on the sections of Chemical Abstracts. Scientometrics, 78(2), 219–229.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. Neylon, C., & Wu, S. (2009). Article-level metrics and the evolution of scientific impact. PLoS Biology, 7(11), e1000242.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Ortega, J. L. (2016). To be or not to be on twitter, and its relationship with the tweeting and citation of research papers. Scientometrics, 109(2), 1353–1364.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  27. Peters, H. P. F., & van Raan, A. F. J. (1994). On determinants of citation scores: A case study in chemical engineering. Journal of the American Society for Information Science, 45(1), 39–49.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  28. Petrovic, S., Osborne, M., McCreadie, R., Macdonald, C., Ounis, I., & Shrimpton, L. (2013). Can twitter replace newswire for breaking news? In Proceedings of the seventh international AAAI conference on weblogs and social media (pp. 713–716).

  29. Priem, J., Groth, P., & Taraborelli, D. (2012a). The altmetrics collection. PLoS ONE, 7(11), e48753.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  30. Priem, J., Piwowar, H. A., & Hemminger, B. M. (2012). Altmetrics in the wild: Using social media to explore scholarly impact. arXiv:1203.4745.

  31. Priem, J., Taraborelli, D., Groth, P., & Neylon, C. (2010). Altmetrics: A manifesto. Retrieved 10 Mar 2017 from http://altmetrics.org/manifesto.

  32. Shema, H., Bar-Ilan, J., & Thelwall, M. (2014). Do blog citations correlate with a higher number of future citations? Research blogs as a potential source for alternative metrics. Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology, 65(5), 1018–1027.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  33. Shu, F., & Haustein, S. (2017). On the citation advantage of tweeted papers at the journal level. Proceedings of the Association for Information Science and Technology, 54(1), 366–372.

    Article  Google Scholar 

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

    Google Scholar 

  35. Subašic, I., & Berendt, B. (2011). Peddling or creating? Investigating the role of twitter in news reporting. In P. Clough, C. Foley, C. Gurrin, G. Jones, W. Kraaij, H. Lee, & V. Murdock (Eds.), Advances in information retrieval: 33rd European Conference on IR Research (Vol. 6611, pp. 207–213). Heidelberg: Springer.

    Google Scholar 

  36. Sud, P., & Thelwall, M. (2014). Evaluating altmetrics. Scientometrics, 98(2), 1131–1143.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  37. Thelwall, M., Haustein, S., Larivière, V., & Sugimoto, C. R. (2013). Do altmetrics work? Twitter and ten other social web services. PLoS ONE, 8(5), e64841.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  38. Thelwall, M., & Kousha, K. (2015). ResearchGate: Disseminating, communicating, and measuring scholarship? Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology, 66(5), 876–889.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  39. Thelwall, M., & Wilson, P. (2015). Mendeley readership altmetrics for medical articles: An analysis of 45 fields. Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology, 67(8), 1962–1972.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  40. Wang, J., & Shapira, P. (2015). Is there a relationship between research sponsorship and publication impact? An analysis of funding acknowledgments in nanotechnology papers. PLoS ONE, 10(2), e0117727. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0117727.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  41. Wouters, P., & Costas, R. (2012). Users, narcissism and control: Tracking the impact of scholarly publications in the 21st century. Utrecht: SURFfoundation.

    Google Scholar 

  42. Xia, F., Su, X., Wang, W., Zhang, C., Ning, Z., & Ivan, L. (2016). Bibliographic analysis of nature based on Twitter and Facebook altmetrics data. PLoS ONE, 11(12), e0165997.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  43. Zahedi, Z., Costas, R., & Wouters, P. (2014). How well developed are altmetrics? A cross-disciplinary analysis of the presence of ‘alternative metrics’ in scientific publications. Scientometrics, 101(2), 1491–1513.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  44. Zhao, W. X., Jiang, J., Weng, J., He, J., Lim, E. P., Yan, H., & Li, X. (2011). Comparing twitter and traditional media using topic models. In European conference on information retrieval. Lecture Notes in Computer Science (Vol. 6611, pp. 338–349).

  45. Ziman, J. (1991). Public understanding of science. Science, Technology and Human Values, 16(1), 99–105.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Jue Wang.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Zhang, L., Wang, J. Why highly cited articles are not highly tweeted? A biology case. Scientometrics 117, 495–509 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11192-018-2876-6

Download citation

Keywords

  • Publication
  • Citation
  • Tweet
  • Twitter users
  • Timing of tweet