Exploring the Top 100 articles of 2015

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Something fascinating to share this morning. Those of you who have had research published might well be aware of something called altmetrics, which are items of information about research articles that go beyond citation factors, H Indexes and other metrics we normally use to assess research impact.

Altmetrics look at the wider picture: how research is disseminated using the channels we have become accustomed to using to access and share information in every aspect of our lives. Altmetrics look at tweets, Facebook likes, how often the research is shared, is mentioned in the media (for example, the BBC website). Considering altmetrics is to consider blog posts and even Wikipedia references. There are a number of software packages that do this, one of which is Altmetric.

By using the information gathered by Altmetric, the provider has compiled a Top 100 of articles according to the altmetrics of that article. The top article is from the journal Nature and is entitled “A new antibiotic kills pathogens without detectable resistance”. This article has had 97 news stories recorded, 61 blog posts, 161 Facebook posts and an amazing 2,428 tweets. What’s really interesting about looking at this sort of information is that number 6 on this list, “Plastic pollution in the world’s oceans: more than 5 trillion plastic pieces weighing over 250,000 tons afloat at sea”, was published in an open access journal, and therefore is freely available. Although overall it has been ranked lower than the article from Nature, this particular article had seen 162 news stories and 252 Facebook posts. I can see why this article might have attracted attention: the title of it this provocative, shocking even. To me, it demonstrates the value of open access publishing: something that is clearly relevant to the world in which we live is accessible to all who want it.

The full Top 100 from Altmetric is available here.

I wonder if the impact of open access publishing will be seen to be even wider in 2016 as we head towards REF 2020. It will certainly be interesting to look at this sort of information next year!

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