The Spectrum of Altmetrics in Neurosurgery: The Top 100 "Trending" Articles in Neurosurgical Journals

World Neurosurg. 2017 Jul;103:883-895.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.wneu.2017.04.157. Epub 2017 May 3.


Objective: Social media are increasingly used for the dissemination of scientific publications by most medical journals. The role of social media in increasing awareness of published works in neurosurgery has not been previously explored. Here, we present a qualitative analysis of the highest trending works in neurosurgery along with a correlation analysis with their social media metrics.

Methods: We performed a comprehensive search for neurosurgical publications using the Altmetric database. The Altmetric database provides a weighted total score of all online mentions for an article received on Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and mainstream media sources. Our search was limited to articles published within the social media era (January 2010-January 2017). Descriptive and correlational statistics were performed for all articles. The top 100 articles in altmetrics were selected for qualitative analysis.

Results: A total of 5794 articles were included in this study. The average Altmetric score in neurosurgical articles was 4.7 (standard deviation ±22.4). Journals with a social media account had significantly higher Altmetric scores for their articles compared with those without an account (P < 0.0001). The number of tweets and online mentions in news outlets had the strongest correlation values with Altmetric scores. The top 100 articles in altmetrics belonged primarily to the Journal of Neurosurgery (33%) followed by Neurosurgery (29%).

Conclusions: This is the first study that details the spectrum of Altmetric scores among neurosurgical journals. Social media presence for journals is important for greater outreach and engagement. Prediction of traditional citation using altmetrics data requires a future prospective study.

Keywords: Altmetric; Citation; Impact factor; Neurosurgery; Social media.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bibliometrics*
  • Databases, Factual
  • Humans
  • Journal Impact Factor
  • Neurosurgery*
  • Periodicals as Topic*
  • Social Media*