The impact of social media on readership of a peer-reviewed medical journal

J Am Coll Radiol. 2014 Nov;11(11):1038-43. doi: 10.1016/j.jacr.2014.07.029. Epub 2014 Nov 3.


Purpose: Social media microblogging has made major inroads in physician education and information exchange. The authors evaluated their early experience with Twitter "tweet chat" sessions as a medium to expand the reach and audience of a peer-reviewed radiology journal.

Methods: The authors analyzed Twitter activity metadata tagged with the #JACR hashtag from the first 6 tweet chat sessions sponsored and promoted by JACR. The assessment included multiple metrics: radiologist versus nonradiologist session participants, individual tweets, tweets with embedded web links, common words, retweets, and impressions. We correlated Twitter metrics with temporally related journal website activity.

Results: Each session generated a mean of 444 ± 172 tweets contributed by a mean of 33 ± 14 participants (45.4% nonradiologists) and resulted in a mean of 1,163,712 ± 441,971 impressions. Per session, a mean of 19 ± 7.6 tweets contained web links, and 138 ± 35.6 tweets were retweets. Monthly journal website article views increased from 31,220 to 41,017 (+31.4%), journal website visits increased from 9,192 to 11,539 (+25.5%), and unique visitors increased from 7,368 to 8,841 (+20%). Since JACR tweet chats were initiated, mean monthly journal website visits and page views per month directly from increased from 24 to 101 (+321%) and from 38 to 159 (+318%), respectively.

Conclusions: Early experience with JACR tweet chats demonstrates that organizing Twitter microblogging activities around topics of general interest to their target readership bears the potential for medical journals to increase their audiences and reach.

Keywords: Social media; education; peer-reviewed literature.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Periodicals as Topic*
  • Radiology / education*
  • Social Media*