Recent trends in the use of social media in parasitology and the application of alternative metrics

John Ellis, Bethany Ellis, Kevin Tyler, Michael P. Reichel

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Abstract

In recent times, the use of social media for the dissemination of “news and views” in parasitology has increased in popularity. News, Twitter and Blogs have emerged as commonplace vehicles in the knowledge dissemination and transfer process. Alternative metrics (“altmetrics”), based on social media mentions have been proposed as a measure of societal impact, although firm evidence for this relationship is yet to be found. Nevertheless, increasing amounts of data on “altmetrics” are being analysed to identify the nature of the unknown impact that social media is generating. Here, we examine the recent, and increasing use of social media in the field of parasitology and the relationship of “altmetrics” with more traditional bibliometric indicators, such as article citations and journal metrics. The analyses document the rise and dominance of Twitter as the main form of social media occurring in the discipline of parasitology and note the contribution to this trend of Twitter bots that automatically tweet about publications. We also report on the use of the social referencing platform Mendeley and its correlation to article citations; Mendeley reader numbers are now considered to provide firm evidence on the early impact of research. Finally, we consider the Twitter profile of 31 journals publishing parasitology research articles (by volume of papers published); we show that thirteen journals are associated with prolific Twitter activity about parasitology. We hope this study will stimulate not only the continued and responsible use of social media to disseminate knowledge about parasitology for the greater good, but also encourage others to further investigate the impact and benefits that altmetrics may bring to this discipline.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100013
JournalCurrent Research in Parasitology and Vector-Borne Diseases
Volume1
Early online date8 Feb 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

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