Measuring the social impact of nursing research: An insight into altmetrics.


Journal Article (Review)

AIMS: The objectives of this study were to (a) identify nursing journal articles that provoked the most online activity and discussion and (b) assess the association between these articles' altmetric scores and publication characteristics, citation counts; and publishing journals metrics. BACKGROUND: Altmetrics, or alternative metrics, have recently emerged as a complementary way of measuring the societal impact of research by assessing the public engagement with research output. To date, no studies have yet investigated the online attention about scientific papers published in the nursing field. DESIGN: Integration of quantitative and qualitative synthesized evidence. DATA SOURCES AND REVIEW METHODS: InCites Journal Citation Report was used to identify a list of nursing journals indexed in the Web of Science Core Collection. Altmetric Explorer was selected as an altmetrics harvesting tool. The search in Altmetric Explorer yielded 66,608 research outputs from 118 nursing journals. The articles with the top 100 altmetric attention score (AAS) were identified and a new search, limited to only those 100 articles, was run to produce aggregate metrics specific to those articles. The articles were also exported for thematic analysis. RESULTS: The median AAS for the 100 articles was 248, ranging from 138 - 649. The articles were mostly discussed on Twitter, followed by news outlets and Mendeley. Articles indexed in the nursing journals category attracted low online attention compared with articles published in other health journal categories. Twitter remained the dominant source of attention over the years 2012-2018, followed distantly by news outlets. Most online attention came from the USA and the UK. Of the top 100 articles included in the study, the Journal of Advanced Nursing published the highest number of articles (N = 26; Median AAS = 179). The AAS was not significantly different between articles published in Q1 journals and those published in Q2 and Q3 journals. There was a significant relationship between articles' AASs and their citation counts on Scopus and Web of Science. Publication date was significantly related to citation counts on Scopus and Web of Science but not with AASs. CONCLUSION: Altmetrics will likely continue to evolve alongside the rapidly expanding use of social media and online platforms. As nursing continues to strive to have our research and scholarship inform policy, translated into practice and recognized for its scientific merit, we have to remain vigilant about the best ways to disseminate the important work we are doing. Research, such as this study, will allow nursing scholars to benchmark our progress as we adapt to the changing environment for measuring impact and quality in the digital age.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Dardas, LA; Woodward, A; Scott, J; Xu, H; Sawair, FA

Published Date

  • July 2019

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 75 / 7

Start / End Page

  • 1394 - 1405

PubMed ID

  • 30507052

Pubmed Central ID

  • 30507052

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1365-2648

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1111/jan.13921


  • eng

Conference Location

  • England