Do altmetrics correlate with citations? A study based on the 1,000 most-cited articles

Ouchi A., Saberi M. K. , Ansari N., Hashempour L., Isfandyari-Moghaddam A.

INFORMATION DISCOVERY AND DELIVERY, vol.47, no.4, pp.192-202, 2019 (Journal Indexed in ESCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 47 Issue: 4
  • Publication Date: 2019
  • Doi Number: 10.1108/idd-07-2019-0050
  • Page Numbers: pp.192-202


Purpose The purpose of this paper is to study the presence of highly cited papers of Nature in social media websites and tools. It also tries to examine the correlation between altmetric and bibliometric indicators. Design/methodology/approach This descriptive study was carried out using altmetric indicators. The research sample consisted of 1,000 most-cited articles in Nature. In February 2019, the bibliographic information of these articles was extracted from the Scopus database. Then, the titles of all articles were manually searched on Google, and by referring to the article in the journal website and altmetric institution, the data related to social media presence and altmetric score of articles were collected. The data were analyzed using Microsoft Excel and SPSS. Findings According to the results of the study, from 1,000 articles, 989 of them (98.9 per cent) were mentioned at least once in different social media websites and tools. The most used altmetric source in highly cited articles was Mendeley (98.9 per cent), followed by Citeulike (79.8 per cent) and Wikipedia (69.4 per cent). Most Tweets, blog posts, Facebook posts, news stories, readers in Mendeley, Citeulike and Connotea and Wikipedia citations belonged to the article titled "Mastering the game of Go with deep neural networks and tree search". The highest altmetric score was 3,135 which belonged to this paper. Most tweeters and articles' readers were from the USA. The membership type of the tweeters was public membership. In terms of fields of study, most readers were PhD students in Agricultural and Biological Sciences. Finally, the results of Spearman's Correlation revealed positive significant statistical correlation between all altmetric indicators and received citations of highly cited articles (p-value = 0.0001). Practical implications - The results of this study can help researchers, editors and editorial boards of journals better understand the importance and benefits of using social media and tools to publish articles. Originality/value Altmetrics is a relatively new field, and in particular, there are not many studies related to the presence of articles in various social media until now. Accordingly, in this study, a comprehensive altmetric analysis was carried out on 1000 most-cited articles of one of the world's most reliable journals.