Beyond Citation Rates: A Real-Time Impact Analysis of Health Professions Education Research Using Altmetrics

Lauren A. Maggio*, Holly S. Meyer, Anthony R. Artino

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose To complement traditional citation-based metrics, which take years to accrue and indicate only academic attention, academia has begun considering altmetrics or alternative metrics, which provide timely feedback on an article's impact by tracking its dissemination via nontraditional outlets, such as blogs and social media, across audiences. This article describes altmetrics and examines altmetrics attention, outlets used, and top article characteristics for health professions education (HPE) research. Method Using Altmetric Explorer, a tool to search altmetrics activity, the authors searched for HPE articles that had at least one altmetrics event (e.g., an article was tweeted or featured in a news story) between 2011 and 2015. Retrieved articles were analyzed using descriptive statistics. In addition, the 10 articles with the highest Altmetric Attention Scores were identified and their key characteristics extracted. Results The authors analyzed 6,265 articles with at least one altmetrics event from 13 journals. Articles appeared in 14 altmetrics outlets. Mendeley (161,470 saves), Twitter (37,537 tweets), and Facebook (1,650 posts) were most popular. The number of HPE articles with altmetrics attention increased 145%, from 539 published in 2011 to 1,321 in 2015. In 2015, 50% or more of the articles in 5 journals received altmetrics attention. Themes for articles with the most altmetrics attention included social media or social networking; three such articles were written as tips or guides. Conclusions Increasing altmetrics attention signals interest in HPE research and the need for further investigation. Knowledge of popular and underused outlets may help investigators strategically share research for broader dissemination.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1449-1455
Number of pages7
JournalAcademic Medicine
Volume92
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2017
Externally publishedYes

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