Examining the Correlation between Altmetric Score and Citations in the Plastic Surgery Literature

Academic Article


  • Background: Social media are transforming the dissemination of published research. This influence brought the advent of a new metric, altmetrics, which seeks to quantify the influence of research in real time based on an article's attention online. This study aims to determine the correlation between altmetrics ratings for articles with traditional bibliometrics of impact factor and citation rate. Methods: The 10 most cited articles in the top 15 plastic surgery journals were determined for 2013 and 2016. The 2013 articles allow for a 5-year lag time, whereas 2016 data provide another timepoint for comparison. Altmetric scores and citation count were collected for each article. Impact factor and Twitter account age were determined for each journal. Statistical analysis was completed using descriptive statistics, and Pearson and Spearman correlation coefficients. Results: In both 2013 and 2016, there was a weak positive correlation between citations and Altmetric score (r = 0.2620, p = 0.0012; r = 0.3564, p < 0.0001, respectively) and between impact factor and the Altmetric score (r = 0.2419, p = 0.0040; r = 0.3887, p = < 0.0001, respectively). Twitter was the main contributor to the Altmetric score in both 2013 and 2016. Conclusions: Altmetric scores and traditional bibliometrics are not strongly correlated with one another in the plastic surgery literature at this point in time. Still, the short- and long-term impact of a publication might be determined through the combined analysis of citation count, impact factor, and Altmetric scores.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Boyd CJ; Ananthasekar S; Kurapati S; King TW
  • Start Page

  • 808E
  • End Page

  • 815E