More and more scientists are blogging and tweeting about their research. But does prominence in the Twittersphere translate into scientific impact as measured by citations? Not according to a study in the Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology.
"The science journal articles that receive the most tweets either deal with health issues or have findings that are either humorous or surprising," says a post about the study at Inside Higher Ed. "Correlations between tweets and citations are low, implying that impact metrics based on tweets are different from those based on citations," the journal article states.
"Being based on 1.4 million documents, this is the largest Twitter study of scholarly articles so far," says University of Montreal (UM) postdoc Stefanie Haustein, who is the journal article's first author, in a UM release.
"The fact that more and more articles are tweeted is good news because it helps scientific communication. Regardless of whether non-scientists are sending this information, it proves that science is an aspect of general culture," says Vincent Larivière, who holds the Canada Research Chair on the Transformation of Academic Communication at UM. Larivière, supervised the study and is its last author. But according to this study, tweets have no real impact on science's currency for career advancement: impact as measured by old-fashioned citations.