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Evaluating the impact of research using the altmetrics approach (case study: the field of scientometrics)

Mehri Sedighi (Iranian Research Institute for Information Science and Technology (IranDoc), Tehran, Iran)

Global Knowledge, Memory and Communication

ISSN: 2514-9342

Article publication date: 20 January 2020



This paper aims to assess the impact of research in the field of scientometrics by using the altmetrics (social media metrics) approach.


This is an applied study which uses scientometric and altmetrics methods. The research population consists of the studies and their citations published in the two core journals (Scientometrics and Journal of Informetrics) in a period of five years (included 1,738 papers and 11,504 citations). Collecting and extracting the studies directly was carried from Springer and ScienceDirect databases. The Altmetric Explorer, a service provided by, was used to collect data on studies from various sources ( The research studies with the altmetric scores were identified (included 830 papers). The altmetric scores represent the quantity and quality of attention that the study has received on social media. The association between altmetric scores and citation indicators was investigated by using correlation tests.


The findings indicated a significant, positive and weak statistical relationship between the number of citations of the studies published in the field of scientometrics and the altmetric scores of these studies, as well as the number of readers of these studies in the two social networks (Mendeley and Citeulike) with the number of their citations. In this study, there was no statistically significant relationship between the number of citations of the studies and the number of readers on Twitter. In sum, the above findings suggest that some social networks and their indices can be representations of the impact of scientific papers, similar citations. However, owing to the weakness of the correlation coefficients, the replacement of these two categories of indicators is not recommended, but it is possible to use the altmetrics indicators as complementary scientometrics indicators in evaluating the impact of research.


Investigating the impact of research on social media can reflect the social impact of research and can also be useful for libraries, universities, and research organizations in planning, budgeting, and resource allocation processes.



Sedighi, M. (2020), "Evaluating the impact of research using the altmetrics approach (case study: the field of scientometrics)", Global Knowledge, Memory and Communication, Vol. 69 No. 4/5, pp. 241-252.



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