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The funding effect on citation and social attention: the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a case study

Pablo Dorta-González (TiDES Research Institute, University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain)
María Isabel Dorta-González (Departamento de Ingeniería Informática y de Sistemas, University of La Laguna, San Cristóbal de La Laguna, Spain)

Online Information Review

ISSN: 1468-4527

Article publication date: 4 April 2023

Issue publication date: 8 November 2023




Academic citation and social attention measure different dimensions in the impact of research results. The authors quantify the contribution of funding to both indicators considering the differences attributable to the research field and access type.


Citation and social attention accumulated until the year 2021 of more than 367 thousand research articles published in the year 2018 are studied. The authors consider funding acknowledgments (FAs) in the research articles. The data source is Dimensions, and the units of study are research articles in the United Nation (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).


Most cited goals by researchers do not coincide with those that arouse greater social attention. A small proportion of articles accumulates a large part of the citations and most of the social attention. Both citation and social attention grow with funding. Thus, funded research has a greater probability of being cited in academic articles and mentioned in social media. Funded research receives on average two to three times more citations and 2.5 to 4.5 times more social attention than unfunded research. Moreover, the open access (OA) modalities gold and hybrid have the greatest advantages in citation and social attention due to funding.

Research limitations/implications

Specific topics were studied in a specific period. Studying other topics and/or different time periods might result in different findings.

Practical implications

When funding to publish in open or hybrid access journals is not available, it is advisable to self-archiving the pre-print or post-print version in a freely accessible repository.

Social implications

Although cautiously, it is also advisable to consider the social impact of the research to complement the scientific impact in the evaluation of the research.


The joint evaluation of the effect of both funding and OA on social attention.



Dorta-González, P. and Dorta-González, M.I. (2023), "The funding effect on citation and social attention: the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a case study", Online Information Review, Vol. 47 No. 7, pp. 1358-1376.



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