Data collected by social media platforms have recently been introduced as a new source for indicators to help measure the impact of scholarly research in ways that are complementary to traditional citation-based indicators. Data generated from social media activities related to scholarly content can be used to reflect broad types of impact. This paper aims to provide systematic evidence regarding how often Twitter is used to diffuse journal articles in the biomedical and life sciences. The analysis is based on a set of 1.4 million documents covered by both PubMed and Web of Science (WoS) and published between 2010 and 2012. The number of tweets containing links to these documents was analyzed to evaluate the degree to which certain journals, disciplines, and specialties were represented on Twitter. It is shown that, with less than 10% of PubMed articles mentioned on Twitter, its uptake is low in general. The relationship between tweets and WoS citations was examined for each document at the level of journals and specialties. The results show that tweeting behavior varies between journals and specialties and correlations between tweets and citations are low, implying that impact metrics based on tweets are different from those based on citations. A framework utilizing the coverage of articles and the correlation between Twitter mentions and citations is proposed to facilitate the evaluation of novel social-media based metrics and to shed light on the question in how far the number of tweets is a valid metric to measure research impact.
The authors: "With less than 10% of PubMed documents mentioned, Twitter shows a much lower coverage of scholarly document than other social media platforms such as Mendeley and CiteULike, which is most likely due to the scholarly focus of the latter two. Nevertheless, we were able to demonstrate that there are some journals and specialties in biomedical science that are of greater interest to the Twitter community than others."
Tweeting biomedicine: an analysis of tweets and citations in the biomedical literatureStefanie Haustein, Isabella Peters, Cassidy R. Sugimoto, Mike Thelwall, Vincent LarivièrearXiv:1308.1838v1Fulltext: http://arxiv.org/pdf/1308.1838v1 ;