Is Social Media a Reliable Way to Assess Research Output?


Valeria Scotti, Annalisa De Silvestri, Luigia Scudeller, Paola Abele, Funda Topuz and Moreno Curti have published a paper titled ‘Novel bibliometric scores for evaluating research quality and output: a correlation study with established indexes‘ in the International Journal of Biological Markers under a creative commons license.

Traditionally the impact of research has been evaluated using the impact factor of the journal in which the research is published and also the h-index.

The researchers in this Italian study wanted to see if the Altmetrics score, a measure of social media interest in a research article correlated with one of the more traditional measures.

The primary question was answered by looking at departments within their hospital. The researchers looked at the research output of each department, summed the Altmetrics scores and the impact factors of the Journals and used these as data points. The researchers then assessed the correlation using the Spearman’s Rho, which is a measure of the relationship between two variables.

They found that the sum of the impact factors was highly correlated with sum of the Altmetrics scores (‘Spearman’s rho 0.88; p<0.0001’).

The researchers also looked at individual social media components of the Altmetrics score and found some similarly interesting results although this is a secondary analysis.

The researchers have provided evidence of the utility of the Almetrics score in a clinical setting.

On a slightly separate note, recently published the top 100 Altmetrics scores for 2016 and it contains a very interesting set of research publications.

Index: There are indices for the TAWOP site here and here

Twitter: You can follow ‘The Amazing World of Psychiatry’ Twitter by clicking on this link.

TAWOP Channel: You can follow the TAWOP Channel on YouTube by clicking on this link.

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Disclaimer: The comments made here represent the opinions of the author and do not represent the profession or any body/organisation. The comments made here are not meant as a source of medical advice and those seeking medical advice are advised to consult with their own doctor. The author is not responsible for the contents of any external sites that are linked to in this blog.

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