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Twenty years of readership of library and information science literature under Mendeley’s microscope

Aida Pooladian (Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain)
Ángel Borrego (Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain)

Performance Measurement and Metrics

ISSN: 1467-8047

Article publication date: 10 April 2017




Altmetric indicators have been proposed as a complement to citation counts in research evaluation. Conceivably, they might also be used to supplement other methods for estimating journal readership. The purpose of this paper is to explore the use of Mendeley reference management software to characterize the features of the readership of library and information science (LIS) literature.


The authors used the Social Sciences Citation Index to retrieve 54,655 articles and reviews published between 1995 and 2014 and indexed in the category “Information Science & Library Science”. Each record was then searched in Mendeley to obtain the number of bookmarks of the paper and the academic status of the users.


Mendeley covers 61 per cent of the LIS literature published in the last 20 years. In all, 75 per cent of the papers published in the last five years had been bookmarked at least once in Mendeley whereas just 55 per cent had been cited in Web of Science. Reviews are bookmarked more frequently than articles, and papers in English have more bookmarks than papers in any other language. Most users of LIS literature are PhD and postgraduate students.


The study shows that altmetrics can be used as a source of data in information behaviour studies. Reference management software provides an unobtrusive means of capturing reading habits in the scholarly literature. Compared to citation counts, bookmarks are rapidly available and also reflect usage outside the academic community.



Pooladian, A. and Borrego, Á. (2017), "Twenty years of readership of library and information science literature under Mendeley’s microscope", Performance Measurement and Metrics, Vol. 18 No. 1, pp. 67-77.



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