Tweet success? Scientific communication correlates with increased citations in Ecology and Conservation

Lamb CT, Gilbert SL, Ford AT. 2018. Tweet success? Scientific communication correlates with increased citations in Ecology and Conservation. PeerJ 6:e4564 https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.4564

Abstract: Science communication is seen as critical for the disciplines of ecology and conservation, where research products are often used to shape policy and decision making. Scientists are increasing their online media communication, via social media and news. Such media engagement has been thought to influence or predict traditional metrics of scholarship, such as citation rates.

Here, we measure the association between citation rates and the Altmetric Attention Score—an indicator of the amount and reach of the attention an article has received—along with other forms of bibliometric performance (year published, journal impact factor, and article type).

We found that Attention Score was positively correlated with citation rates. However, in recent years, we detected increasing media exposure did not relate to the equivalent citations as in earlier years; signalling a diminishing return on investment. Citations correlated with journal impact factors up to ∼13, but then plateaued, demonstrating that maximizing citations does not require publishing in the highest-impact journals.

We conclude that ecology and conservation researchers can increase exposure of their research through social media engagement and, simultaneously, enhance their performance under traditional measures of scholarly activity.

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