Journal of Pathology Informatics Journal of Pathology Informatics
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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 12  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 8

Examining the relationship between altmetric score and traditional bibliometrics in the pathology literature

1 Department of Pathology & Immunology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX, USA
2 Department of Plastic Surgery, NYU Langone, New York, NY, USA

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Christine G Roth
Department of Pathology and Immunology, Baylor College of Medicine, One Baylor Plaza, Houston, TX 77030
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jpi.jpi_81_20

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Background: Recently, research data are increasingly shared through social media and other digital platforms. Traditionally, the influence of a scientific article has been assessed by the publishing journal's impact factor (IF) and its citation count. The Altmetric scoring system, a new bibliometric that integrates research “mentions” over digital media platforms, has emerged as a metric of online research distribution. The aim of this study was to explore the relationship of the Altmetric Score with IF and citation number within the pathology literature. Methods: Citation count and Altmetric scores were obtained from the top 10 most-cited articles from the 15 pathology journals with the highest IF for 2013 and 2016. These variables were analyzed and correlated with each other, as well as the age of the publishing journal's Twitter account. Results: Three hundred articles were examined from the two cohorts. The total citation count of the articles decreased from 21,043 (2013) to 14,679 (2016), while the total Altmetric score increased from 830 (2013) to 4066 (2016). In 2013, Altmetric score weakly correlated with citation number (r = 0.284, P < 0.001) but not with journal IF (r = 0.024, P = 0.771). In 2016, there was strong correlation between citation count and Altmetric Score (r = 0.714, P < 0.0001) but not the IF (r = 0.0442, P = 0.591). Twitter was the single most important contributor to the Altmetric score; however, the age of the Twitter account was not associated with citation number nor Altmetric score. Conclusions: In the pathology literature studied, the Altmetric score correlates with article citation count, suggesting that the Altmetric score and conventional bibliometrics can be treated as complementary metrics. Given the trend towards increasing use of social media, additional investigation is warranted to evaluate the evolving role of social media metrics to assess the dissemination and impact of scientific findings in the field of pathology.

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