Home About us Editorial board Search Browse articles Submit article Instructions Contacts Login 
Users Online: 1517
Home Print this page Email this page


Previous article Browse articles Next article 
J Edu Health Promot 2018,  7:18

Do highly cited clinicians get more citations when being present at social networking sites?

1 Medical Biotechnology Research Center, School of Nursing, Midwifery and paramedicine, Guilan, University of Medical Sciences, Rasht; Department of Medical Library and Information, School of Management and Medical Information Sciences, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran
2 Physiology Research Center, Institute of Neuropharmacology, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran
3 Department of Medical Library and Information, School of Management and Medical Information Sciences, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

Date of Submission18-Jul-2017
Date of Acceptance16-Sep-2017
Date of Web Publication09-Feb-2018

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Maryam Okhovati
Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Medical University Campus, Haft-Bagh Highway, Kerman
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jehp.jehp_69_17

Rights and Permissions

Background and Aims: The advent of social networking sites has facilitated the dissemination of scientific research. This article aims to investigate the presence of Iranian highly cited clinicians in social networking sites.
Materials and Methods: This is a scientometrics study. Essential Science Indicator (ESI) was searched for Iranian highly cited papers in clinical medicine during November–December 2015. Then, the authors of the papers were checked and a list of authors was obtained. In the second phase, the authors' names were searched in the selected social networking sites (ResearchGate [RG], Academia, Mendeley, LinkedIn). The total citations and h-index in Scopus were also gathered.
Results: Fifty-five highly cited papers were retrieved. A total of 107 authors participated in writing these papers. RG was the most popular (64.5%) and LinkedIn and Academia were in 2nd and 3rd places. None of the authors of highly cited papers were subscribed to Mendeley. A positive direct relationship was observed between visibility at social networking sites with citation and h-index rate. A significant relationship was observed between the RG score, citations, reads indicators in RG, and citation numbers and there was a significant relationship between the number of document indicator in Academia and the citation numbers.
Conclusion: It seems putting the papers in social networking sites can influence the citation rate. We recommend all scientists to be present at social networking sites to have better chance of visibility and also citation.

Keywords: Academia, clinical medicine, highly cited, Iran, LinkedIn, Mendeley, ResearchGate, social networking sites

How to cite this article:
Ramezani-Pakpour-Langeroudi F, Okhovati M, Talebian A. Do highly cited clinicians get more citations when being present at social networking sites?. J Edu Health Promot 2018;7:18

How to cite this URL:
Ramezani-Pakpour-Langeroudi F, Okhovati M, Talebian A. Do highly cited clinicians get more citations when being present at social networking sites?. J Edu Health Promot [serial online] 2018 [cited 2021 Jun 14];7:18. Available from: https://www.jehp.net/text.asp?2018/7/1/18/225075

  Introduction Top

Researchers usually communicate and share their knowledge through publications.[1] On the other hand, during the few past decades, web has dramatically changed the way researchers communicate and disseminate their knowledge.[2],[3],[4] Social networks as a new generation of web (Web 2.0) have presented a revolutionary new and opportunities for users to generate and share information in different formats.[5],[6],[7],[8] Social media has broadly been used including in health-care contexts.[5] Social networks not only have fundamentally influenced the way scientists communicate but also have changed the way of the measurement of the researcher's impact. Researchers increasingly use them to communicate and raise their visibility.[9],[10] Van Noorden reported that of 3500 scientists and engineers responding to the Nature e-mail from 95 countries, 3000 ones were familiar with social networks such as ResearchGate (RG), Academia, LinkedIn, and Mendeley.[11]

On the other hand, to measure the impact of scientists, some metrics such as total number of publications, total citation counts, and citations per publication were the most commonly used metrics for a long time.[12] Studies have shown that the more citations a paper receives; the better quality it has.[13],[14] In other words, citation analysis can differentiate papers with higher impact from a large body of publications. With regard to the importance of citations, many studies have reported highly cited papers in different specialties – emergency medicine,[15] critical care medicine,[16] neurosurgery,[17],[18] pediatrics neurosurgery,[19] and orthopedic surgery.[20]

Given the importance of the citation, Thomson Reuters has launched Essential Science Indicator (ESI) in which hot papers, top papers, and highly cited papers in 22 disciplines are introduced.[21]

Citation-based metrics, although widely used,[22] have some limitations,[23] so there is currently a shift from traditional bibliometric impact scores toward new indicators. Some new approaches have been proposed such as web citation counts [24] and download data.[25],[26] More recently new metrics called altmetrics, derived from social networking sites, have been emerged as alternative means to measure scholarly impact [3] and give information about the wider societal impacts of research than traditional indicators such as citation counts.[27] The presence of scholars in social networks has been investigated [22],[23],[28],[29],[30] and studies have indicated the correlation between altmetrics indices and traditional citation metrics.[23]

Bar-Ilan et al. found that Mendeley bookmarks were significantly correlated to Scopus citation counts.[23] According to Mohammadi et al., Mendeley readership counts can supplement citation counts in social science and some areas of engineering.[31] Madhusudhan found that RG (54%), Academia (51%), LinkedIn (39%), and CiteULike (35%) were used by scholar at the University of Delhi.[32] Thelwall and Kousha assessed the RG usage among different countries. RG had most users in Brazil, India, and Academia used more in China, South Korea, and Russia. Iran also had many RG members. Although web, especially social networks play an important role in disseminating research, a few studies have studied the familiarity and use of these sites by influential scientists.[33] Mas-Bleda et al. assessed the use of social web by highly cited Researchers in European institutions.[3]

Iran has tried to increase the quality and quantity of papers, in this way, the number of citations a paper receives is important. Some of the researchers have tried social networking sites to disseminate, publicize their findings, and communicate. This study investigated the presence of highly cited authors in clinical medicine in social networking sites. If a positive relationship is found between the citations and being in social networking sites, it can be recommended to policymakers, researchers that publicizing the publications can be a way to increase the citation rate. Moreover, it can imply that new metrics based on social networking sites may be used as supplement or complement of the old citation-based metrics.

  Materials and Methods Top

This scientometrics study was conducted in two phases. In phase I, the ESI was used to gather the data on highly cited papers during November to December 2015.

“Highly cited papers” feature was selected and Iran was entered in “country/territories” box, the retrieved data was limited to “Clinical Medicine.” To control the name variations, last name, first name (or its initial), affiliation, and subject area were considered. Then, the authors of the paper were checked and a list of authors was provided. In phase II, authors were separately searched in the selected social networking sites. [Table 1] indicates the social networking sites and the indicators assessed. The data were analyzed using descriptive (frequency and percent) and inferential (Pearson's) statistics in SPSS version 16 (SPSS, Inc., Chicago, IL, U.S.A) [Table 1].
Table 1: The social networks and the indicators

Click here to view

  Results Top

Searching ESI, 55 highly cited papers were retrieved. Of 107 researchers, participating in these papers, 64.5% were found in RG, so the RG was the most used social networking sites and LinkedIn placed in the 2nd rank, but no profile was retrieved in Mendeley [Table 2].
Table 2: The presence of highly cited clinical medicine scientist in social networks

Click here to view

The mean and standard deviation of h-Index for Iranian highly cited researchers and citations in Scopus were 15 ± 12.3 and 1988.9 ± 3079.1, respectively.

[Table 3] indicates the mean and standard deviation for the indicators in the social networking sites. The means of publications in RG was 128 ± 146.5. The means of profile views and reads were 834.5 ± 1274.9, 6862 ± 7675.2, respectively. The mean of citations was 1799.2 ± 3039.61 and RG score was 30.1 ± 11.9.
Table 3: Mean and standard deviation of indicators in each social networking sites

Click here to view

In Academia, the means and standard deviation of following and followers were 3.12 ± 4.85 and 21.37 ± 18.2, respectively. The authors had moderately 59.13 ± 130.2 papers in their profile and the mean of total views was 741.69 ± 1397.2. None of 107 researchers were found the Mendeley.

The findings demonstrated that a large percent of the researchers (33.6%) registered in three social networking sites, whereas only 14% of them had profiles in all four social networks. Thirty (28%) of the researchers had a profile in one of and 24.3% in two of the social networks. A positive direct relationship was observed between visibility at social networking sites with citation and h-index rate (P < 0.01). According to regression model, visibility at social networking sites can be used to anticipate the citation rate (P < 0.01, R 2:0.087).

A significant relationship was observed between the citation rates and RG indicators (P < 0.01). Although according to regression model, the relationship between profile views and the number of publications was not statistically signification, the relationship between reads, citations, and RG score was significant. In other words, reads, citations and RG score can be used to anticipate the citation rate (P < 0.01, R2:0.76).

There was a significant relationship between the total citation and Academia indicators (P < 0.01). The relationship was significant for all 4 indicators (followers, following, total views, documents). According to regression model, no significant relationship was observed between the followers and following numbers and the total views with citation number, but the documents number can predict the citation rate (P < 0.01, R2:0.17).

  Discussion and Conclusion Top

Nowadays, social networks can be used to disseminate scholarly information in different ways. The highly cited researchers have been successful in traditional publishing,[3] but we are going to see if they have used social networking sites to publicize their publications and if there is a relationship between citations as a traditional metrics with the presence at the social sites.

According to ESI, 55 highly cited papers were written by 107 Iranian authors. The number of highly cited papers in Turkey, Pakistan, Uganda, Egypt, and Iran was higher than other Islamic countries in the field of clinical medicine.[34] Therefore, according to the number of highly cited papers in the field of clinical medicine in 2011, Iran was placed after the abovementioned Islamic countries. Iran should have some plans to improve its place and the number of highly cited papers. All around the world, the USA had the most highly cited scientists in this field.[35]

Among the social networking sites investigated, RG had the most subscribers so that 64.5% of the authors of highly cited papers were found in RG. Scientists and engineers in Van Noorden's study were most familiar with RG than LinkedIn, Academia, and Mendeley. Among the scientists at art, humanities, and social science, LinkedIn was after Facebook but preceded RG, Academia, and Mendeley. The findings of our study confirm the findings of Saadat [36] and Li et al.[37] As a whole, the two largest disciplines were medicine and biology.[38] Madhusudhan [32] Asnafi et al.[39] also reported RG as the most popular social networking site. LinkedIn was the most popular social network among highly cited researchers at European institutes.[3] In a similar study, Haustein et al.[22] demonstrated that RG followed LinkedIn, Academia, and Mendeley. In our study, LinkedIn was in the second rank, the third rank belonged to Academia while no researchers were found in Mendeley.

Since the studies have proved the relationship between the number of highly cited papers and researchers with the joint authors [34] and the impact factor of journals,[40] the Iranian researchers should be directed to publish their papers in journals with higher impact factor and they should be encouraged to have scientific cooperation's with authors from other countries.

Social networking sites can help them to be visible to other scientists and be visited by their colleagues and other scientists around the world, it is suggested that the Iranian researchers be encouraged to subscribe these sites to have more chance to be cited.

Some studies have shown the relationship between Mendeley readership and citation numbers,[23],[31] but none of Iranian influential scientists were found in this social networking site. The scientists should be informed about the advantages of these social networking sites such as Mendeley. The mean of h-index in Scopus was 15 ± 12.3. This is higher than the h-index of Iranian epidemiologists which was 3.9.[41] This study confirmed the relationship between the citation rate and social networking sites indicators. A significant relationship was observed between the RG score, total reads, and total citations in RG and there was a significant relationship between a total number of papers in Academia and the citation numbers.

Social networking sites have introduced new channels to scholars to disseminate information and communicate. On the other hand, citation metrics show the impact of a scientist. This study indicated the relationship between social networking sites presence and citation rates and h-index. It implies that presenting the papers in social networking sites can increase the chance of citation and h-index. Besides that, it includes this message that new metrics based on social networking sites can supplement and complement the old metrics, especially that these new metrics have some advantages rather than old ones. We recommend all scientists to be present at social networking sites to have better chance of visibility and also citation.

Financial support and sponsorship

The present study is the partial result of the program ratified by Guilan University of Medical Sciences in Iran under the code IR.GUMS.REC.1395.184

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Yu MC, Wu YC, Alhalabi W, Kao HY, Wu WH. Research gate: An effective altmetric indicator for active researchers? Comput Hum Behav 2016;55(Pt B):1001-6.  Back to cited text no. 1
Chen C, Sun K, Wu G, Tang Q, Qin J, Chiu K, et al. The impact of internet resources on scholarly communication: A citation analysis. Scientometrics 2009;81:459-74.  Back to cited text no. 2
Mas-Bleda A, Thelwall M, Kousha K, Aguillo IF. Do Highly-cited researchers successfully use the social web? Scientometrics 2014;101:337-56.  Back to cited text no. 3
Thelwall M, Kousha K. Web indicators for research evaluation. Part 2: Social media metrics. El Prof Inf 2015;24:607-20.  Back to cited text no. 4
Moorhead SA, Hazlett DE, Harrison L, Carroll JK, Irwin A, Hoving C, et al. A new dimension of health care: Systematic review of the uses, benefits, and limitations of social media for health communication. J Med Internet Res 2013;15:e85.  Back to cited text no. 5
Eytan T, Benabio J, Golla V, Parikh R, Stein S. Social media and the health system. Perm J 2011;15:71-4.  Back to cited text no. 6
Kaplan AM, Haenlein M. Users of the world, unite! The challenges and opportunities of Social Media. Bus Horiz 2010;53:59-68.  Back to cited text no. 7
Bornmann L. Usefulness of altmetrics for measuring the broader impact of research. Aslib Proc 2015;67:305-19.  Back to cited text no. 8
Rowlands I, Nicholas D, Russell B, Canty N, Watkinson A. Social media use in the research workflow. Learn Publ 2011;24:183-95.  Back to cited text no. 9
Haustein S, Sugimoto C, Larivière V. Guest editorial: Social media in scholarly communication. Aslib Proc 2015;67: Available from: http://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/full/10.1108/AJIM-03-2015-0047.  Back to cited text no. 10
Van Noorden R. Online collaboration: Scientists and the social network. Nature 2014;512:126-9.  Back to cited text no. 11
Bornmann L, Daniel HD. The state of h index research. Is the h index the ideal way to measure research performance? EMBO Rep 2009;10:2-6.  Back to cited text no. 12
Antonakis J, Lalive R. Quantifying scholarly impact: IQp versus the Hirsch h. J Assoc Inf Sci Technol 2008;59:956-69.  Back to cited text no. 13
Lokker C, McKibbon KA, McKinlay RJ, Wilczynski NL, Haynes RB. Prediction of citation counts for clinical articles at two years using data available within three weeks of publication: Retrospective cohort study. BMJ 2008;336:655-7.  Back to cited text no. 14
Tsai YL, Lee CC, Chen SC, Yen ZS. Top-cited articles in emergency medicine. Am J Emerg Med 2006;24:647-54.  Back to cited text no. 15
Rosenberg AL, Tripathi RS, Blum J. The most influential articles in critical care medicine. J Crit Care 2010;25:157-70.  Back to cited text no. 16
Ponce FA, Lozano AM. Highly cited works in neurosurgery. Part I: The 100 top-cited papers in neurosurgical journals. J Neurosurg 2010;112:223-32.  Back to cited text no. 17
Ponce FA, Lozano AM. Highly cited works in neurosurgery. Part II: The citation classics. J Neurosurg 2010;112:233-46.  Back to cited text no. 18
Khan NR, Auschwitz T, McAbee JH, Boop FA, KlimoP Jr. Highly cited publications in pediatric neurosurgery: Part 2. Childs Nerv Syst 2013;29:2215-28.  Back to cited text no. 19
Lefaivre KA, Shadgan B, O'Brien PJ. 100 most cited articles in orthopaedic surgery. Clin Orthop Relat Res 2011;469:1487-97.  Back to cited text no. 20
Li JT. What we learn from the shifts in highly-cited data from 2001 to 2014? Scientometrics 2016;108:57-82.  Back to cited text no. 21
Haustein S, Peters I, Bar-Ilan J, Priem J, Shema H, Terliesner J. Coverage and adoption of altmetrics sources in the bibliometric community. Scientometrics 2014;101:1145-63.  Back to cited text no. 22
Bar-Ilan J, Haustein S, Peters I, Priem S, Shema H, Terliesner J. Beyond citations: Scholars' visibility on the social Web. In: Proceedings of 17th International Conference on Science and Technology Indicators. Montre×al: Science-Metrix and OST; 2012. p. 98-109.  Back to cited text no. 23
Vaughan L, Shaw D. Web citation data for impact assessment: A comparison of four science disciplines. J Assoc Inf Sci Technol 2005;56:1075-87.  Back to cited text no. 24
Neylon C, Wu S. Article-level metrics and the evolution of scientific impact. PLoS Biol 2009;7:e1000242.  Back to cited text no. 25
Watson AB. Comparing citations and downloads for individual articles at the Journal of Vision. J Vision 2009;9:1-4.  Back to cited text no. 26
Bornmann L. Do altmetrics point to the broader impact of research? An overview of benefits and disadvantages of altmetrics. J Informetr 2014;8:895-903.  Back to cited text no. 27
Campos-Freire F, Ruas-Araujo J. The use of professional and scientific social networks: The case of three Galician universities. Prof Inf 2016;25:431-40.  Back to cited text no. 28
Treem JW, Leonardi PM. Social media use in organizations: Exploring the affordances of visibility, editability, persistence, and association. Ann Int Commun Assoc 2013;36:143-89.  Back to cited text no. 29
von Muhlen M, Ohno-Machado L. Reviewing social media use by clinicians. J Am Med Inform Assoc 2012;19:777-81.  Back to cited text no. 30
Mohammadi E, Thelwall M, Haustein S, Larivière V. Who reads research articles? An altmetrics analysis of Mendeley user categories. J Assoc Inf Sci Technol. 2015;66:1832-46.  Back to cited text no. 31
Madhusudhan M. Use of social networking sites by research scholars of the University of Delhi: A study. Int Inf Libr Rev 2012;44:100-13.  Back to cited text no. 32
Thelwall M, Kousha K. ResearchGate: Disseminating, communicating, and measuring scholarship? J Assoc Inf Sci Technol. 2015;66:876-89.  Back to cited text no. 33
Parto P, Goltaji M, Serati Shirazi M. Islamic country highly-cited papers in the Essential science Indicators (ESI). In: Yaminfirooz M, editor. Third National Conference on Science and Production in the Field of Medical Research, 22 Dec 2011. Babol: Ketabdar; 2011. p. 16-30.  Back to cited text no. 34
Mirjalali SH, Akrami Abarghoi S. The most cited authoe in the field of clinical medicine: A concentratin on its transdisciplinary relations in ISI. Health Inf Manage 2010;7:283-92.  Back to cited text no. 35
Saadat Y. Iranian Chemists Tend to Subscribe to the Scientific Study of Social Networks Based on Characteristics of Knowledge and its Recognition [Master's Thesis]. Shiraz: Shiraz Univerdity; 2014.  Back to cited text no. 36
Li X, Thelwall M, Giustini D. Validating online reference managers for scholarly impact measurement. Scientometrics 2012;91:461-71.  Back to cited text no. 37
Crawford M. Biologists using social-networking sites to boost collaboration. Bioscience 2011;61:736.  Back to cited text no. 38
Asnafi AR, Pakdaman Naeini M, Moradi S, Ghazizadeh H, editors. Study on Activities of Payame Noor University (I.R. Iran) Faculty Members in Research Gate. International Conference on Webometrics, Informetrics and Scientometrics and 16th COLLNET Meeting. Delhi, India; 2015.  Back to cited text no. 39
Rahimi F, Didegah F. A survey on hot papers of middle-east countries in database of Essential Science Indicators (ESI). Publij 2010;15:81-101.  Back to cited text no. 40
Okhovati M, Bazrafshan A, Zare M, Moradzadeh M, Mokhtari AM. Research performance measures and the moderating role of faculty characteristics in epidemiology. Glob J Health Sci 2015;8:72-80.  Back to cited text no. 41


  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3]

This article has been cited by
1 Visualization of knowledge flow in interpersonal scientific collaboration network endocrinology and metabolism research institute
Leila Shahmoradi,Aboozar Ramezani,Rasha Atlasi,Nazli Namazi,Bagher Larijani
Journal of Diabetes & Metabolic Disorders. 2020;
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
2 The Use of Social Media to Increase the Impact of Health Research: Systematic Review
Marco Bardus,Rola El Rassi,Mohamad Chahrour,Elie W Akl,Abdul Sattar Raslan,Lokman I Meho,Elie A Akl
Journal of Medical Internet Research. 2020; 22(7): e15607
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
3 Immunology and social networks: an approach towards impact assessment
José Andrés Ordoñez-Gutiérrez,Juan Manuel Oviedo-Moreno,Daniela Patino-Hernandez,Daniel Gerardo Fernández-Ávila
Rheumatology International. 2019;
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
4 Investigating the Presence of Highly Cited Articles on Chronic Diseases in Scientific Social Network: Altmetrics Study
Mohammad Esmaeilpour Bandboni,Fatemeh Ramezani-Pakpour-Langeroudi,SeyyedHamidReza FallahMortezaNejad,Aboozar Ramezani
Jundishapur Journal of Chronic Disease Care. 2019; In Press(In Press)
[Pubmed] | [DOI]


Previous article  Next article
Similar in PUBMED
   Search Pubmed for
   Search in Google Scholar for
 Related articles
Access Statistics
Email Alert *
Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)

  In this article
Materials and Me...
Discussion and C...
Article Tables

 Article Access Statistics
    PDF Downloaded149    
    Comments [Add]    
    Cited by others 4    

Recommend this journal