Online and Social Media Research Promotion is Associated with Broader Influence and Higher Impact of Publications
Carter J. Boyd, Jonathan M. Bekisz, Ara A. Salibian, Nolan S. Karp, Mihye Choi
Hansjörg Wyss Department of Plastic Surgery, NYU Langone, New York, New York
Background: Social media has altered the mechanisms by which published research is disseminated and accessed. No study has measured the direct effect of journal promotional activity on research article dissemination, influence, and impact. The objective of this study was to measure the effect of promotion on research article dissemination, influence, and impact in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.
Methods: An Advanced PubMed search for all articles published in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery from January 1, 2016-December 31, 2018 was conducted yielding a total of 2,015 unique articles. These articles were subsequently queried in the NIH iCite Database to determine the number of citations each article had accrued and the relative citation rate (RCR). Articles were individually reviewed for the Altmetric score and 16 unique promotional tags as indexed on the Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery website. The exclusion criteria included article categories: viewpoints, letters, erratum, editorials, indexes, prefaces, and book reviews. For inclusion, articles were required to have an abstract. A total of 1,502 articles were included in the final analysis (2016: n=524, 2017: n=463, 2018: n=515). Statistical analysis was completed using descriptive statistics, Pearson’s correlations, and Student t-tests where appropriate with a predetermined level of significance of p?0.05. Results: Altmetric score was positively correlated with both citation count (p<0.001; r=0.336) and RCR (p<0.001; r=0.297) across the entire article cohort. A total of 637 articles (42.4%) had a promotional tag, while 252 (16.8%) had multiple promotional tags. Articles with promotional tags had higher Altmetric scores (30.35 vs 8.22; p<0.001), more citations (11.96 vs 8.47; p<0.001), and a higher RCR (2.97 vs 2.06; p<0.001) compared to articles that did not possess a promotional tag. Articles with multiple promotional tags had higher Altmetric scores (50.17 vs 17.39; p<0.001), more citations (15.78 vs 9.47; p<0.001), and a higher RCR (3.67 vs 2.51; p<0.001) compared to articles that only had one promotional tag. The top three mediums in which articles were shared on social media included 23,828 tweets, 1,331 mentions on news outlets, and 1,111 Facebook posts for the entire article cohort. Articles with a promotional tag received tweets in more countries than articles with no tag (4.55 vs 2.00; p<0.001). Conclusions: This analysis strongly suggests that online and social media promotion of research articles is associated with significantly wider dissemination, broader visibility, and more subsequent citations in the literature.
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