The Use of Twitter by Radiology Journals: An Analysis of Twitter Activity and Impact Factor

J Am Coll Radiol. 2016 Nov;13(11):1391-1396. doi: 10.1016/j.jacr.2016.06.041. Epub 2016 Aug 28.


Purpose: Medical journals use social media as a means to disseminate new research and interact with readers. The microblogging site Twitter is one such platform. The aim of this study was to analyze the recent use of Twitter by the leading radiology journals.

Methods: The top 50 journals by Impact Factor were included. Twitter profiles associated with these journals, or their corresponding societies, were identified. Whether each journal used other social media platforms was also recorded. Each Twitter profile was analyzed over a one-year period, with data collected via Twitonomy software. Klout scores of social media influence were calculated. Results were analyzed in SPSS using Student's t test, Fisher contingency tables, and Pearson correlations to identify any association between social media interaction and Impact Factors of journals.

Results: Fourteen journals (28%) had dedicated Twitter profiles. Of the 36 journals without dedicated Twitter profiles, 25 (50%) were associated with societies that had profiles, leaving 11 (22%) journals without a presence on Twitter. The mean Impact Factor of all journals was 3.1 ± 1.41 (range, 1.7-6.9). Journals with Twitter profiles had higher Impact Factors than those without (mean, 3.37 vs 2.14; P < .001). There was no statistically significant difference between the Impact Factors of the journals with dedicated Twitter profiles and those associated with affiliated societies (P = .47). Since joining Twitter, 7 of the 11 journals (64%) experienced increases in Impact Factor. A greater number of Twitter followers was correlated with higher journal Impact Factor (R2 = 0.581, P = .029).

Conclusions: The investigators assessed the prevalence and activity of the leading radiology journals on Twitter. Radiology journals with Twitter profiles have higher Impact Factors than those without profiles, and the number of followers of a journal's Twitter profile is positively associated with Impact Factor.

Keywords: Impact Factor; Social media; Twitter; academic radiology.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Information Dissemination
  • Journal Impact Factor
  • Periodicals as Topic*
  • Radiology*
  • Social Media / statistics & numerical data*