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Can altmetric mentions predict later citations? A test of validity on data from ResearchGate and three social media platforms

Can altmetric mentions predict later citations? A test of validity on data from ResearchGate and... The main purpose of this study is to explore and validate the question “whether altmetric mentions can predict citations to scholarly articles”. The paper attempts to explore the nature and degree of correlation between altmetrics (from ResearchGate and three social media platforms) and citations.Design/methodology/approachA large size data sample of scholarly articles published from India for the year 2016 is obtained from the Web of Science database and the corresponding altmetric data are obtained from ResearchGate and three social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook and blog through Altmetric.com aggregator). Correlations are computed between early altmetric mentions and later citation counts, for data grouped in different disciplinary groups.FindingsResults show that the correlation between altmetric mentions and citation counts are positive, but weak. Correlations are relatively higher in the case of data from ResearchGate as compared to the data from the three social media platforms. Further, significant disciplinary differences are observed in the degree of correlations between altmetrics and citations.Research limitations/implicationsThe results support the idea that altmetrics do not necessarily reflect the same kind of impact as citations. However, articles that get higher altmetric attention early may actually have a slight citation advantage. Further, altmetrics from academic social networks like ResearchGate are more correlated with citations, as compared to social media platforms.Originality/valueThe paper has novelty in two respects. First, it takes altmetric data for a window of about 1–1.5 years after the article publication and citation counts for a longer citation window of about 3–4 years after the publication of article. Second, it is one of the first studies to analyze data from the ResearchGate platform, a popular academic social network, to understand the type and degree of correlations.Peer reviewThe peer review history for this article is available at: https://publons.com/publon/10.1108/OIR-11-2019-0364 http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Online Information Review Emerald Publishing

Can altmetric mentions predict later citations? A test of validity on data from ResearchGate and three social media platforms

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
© Emerald Publishing Limited
ISSN
1468-4527
DOI
10.1108/oir-11-2019-0364
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The main purpose of this study is to explore and validate the question “whether altmetric mentions can predict citations to scholarly articles”. The paper attempts to explore the nature and degree of correlation between altmetrics (from ResearchGate and three social media platforms) and citations.Design/methodology/approachA large size data sample of scholarly articles published from India for the year 2016 is obtained from the Web of Science database and the corresponding altmetric data are obtained from ResearchGate and three social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook and blog through Altmetric.com aggregator). Correlations are computed between early altmetric mentions and later citation counts, for data grouped in different disciplinary groups.FindingsResults show that the correlation between altmetric mentions and citation counts are positive, but weak. Correlations are relatively higher in the case of data from ResearchGate as compared to the data from the three social media platforms. Further, significant disciplinary differences are observed in the degree of correlations between altmetrics and citations.Research limitations/implicationsThe results support the idea that altmetrics do not necessarily reflect the same kind of impact as citations. However, articles that get higher altmetric attention early may actually have a slight citation advantage. Further, altmetrics from academic social networks like ResearchGate are more correlated with citations, as compared to social media platforms.Originality/valueThe paper has novelty in two respects. First, it takes altmetric data for a window of about 1–1.5 years after the article publication and citation counts for a longer citation window of about 3–4 years after the publication of article. Second, it is one of the first studies to analyze data from the ResearchGate platform, a popular academic social network, to understand the type and degree of correlations.Peer reviewThe peer review history for this article is available at: https://publons.com/publon/10.1108/OIR-11-2019-0364

Journal

Online Information ReviewEmerald Publishing

Published: May 10, 2021

Keywords: Altmetrics; Correlation; Citation impact; Social media metrics; Scientometrics

References