The Altmetric attention score (AAS) provides new information to gauge the impact of a research article not found through typical metrics, such as impact factor or citation counts.
To explore the association between AAS and common impact markers among high-impact ophthalmology journals from 2018 to 2019.
All articles published in the American Journal of Ophthalmology (AJO), JAMA Ophthalmology (JAMAO), and Ophthalmology (OPH) from January 1, 2018, to December 31, 2019, were collected for this cross-sectional study. Excluded articles were those missing Altmetric data at the time of data collection. The AAS and associated social media impact for each article were collected with the AAS calculator bookmarklet. Spearman rank correlation analyses and analysis of variance tests were conducted to assess differences in various metrics between AJO, JAMAO, and OPH. The study included articles published of all document types (article, conference paper, editorial, erratum, letter, note, retracted, review, and short survey) and access status (open access and not open access).
The correlation between citation counts and Altmetric variables including AAS.
A total of 2467 articles were published in the study period. There were 351 articles excluded owing to missing Altmetric data. Of the 2116 articles included in the analysis, 1039 (49.1%) were published in 2018, and 1077 (50.9%) were published in 2019; the mean number of citations was 8.8 (95% CI, 7.9-9.6) for AJO, 6.2 (95% CI, 5.3-7.1) for JAMAO, and 15.1 (95% CI, 13.3-17.0) for OPH. The mean AAS was 4.5 (95% CI, 3.3-5.6) for AJO (723 publications), 27.4 (95% CI, 22.1-32.8) for JAMAO (758 publications), and 15.1 (95% CI, 10.9-19.3) for OPH (635 publications). Citation rate was moderately correlated with AAS across the 3 journals (AJO, ρ = 0.39; P < .001; JAMAO, ρ = 0.41; P < .001; OPH, ρ = 0.40; P < .001), as well as minimally or moderately correlated with engagement or mention by Facebook posts (AJO, ρ = 0.38; P < .001; JAMAO, ρ = 0.24; P < .001; OPH, ρ = 0.20; P < .001), news outlet reporting (AJO, ρ = 0.12; P < .001; JAMAO, ρ = 0.38; P < .001; OPH, ρ = 0.19; P < .001), and Twitter posts (AJO, ρ = 0.40; P < .001; JAMAO, ρ = 0.38; P < .001; OPH, ρ = 0.42; P < .001).
Results of this cross-sectional study suggest that citation rate has a moderate positive correlation with online and social media sharing of research in ophthalmology literature. Peer-reviewed journals may increase their reach and impact by sharing their literature through social media and online platforms.