The effect of an infographic promotion on research dissemination and readership: A randomized controlled trial

CJEM. 2018 Nov;20(6):826-833. doi: 10.1017/cem.2018.436. Epub 2018 Oct 5.


Objective: Journals use social media to increase the awareness of their publications. Infographics show research findings in a concise and visually appealing manner, well suited for dissemination on social media platforms. We hypothesized that infographic abstracts promoted on social media would increase the dissemination and online readership of the parent research articles.

Methods: Twenty-four articles were chosen from the six issues of CJEM published between July 2016 and June 2017 and randomized to infographic or control groups. All articles were disseminated through the journal’s social media accounts (Twitter and Facebook). Control articles were promoted using a screen capture image of each article’s abstract on the journal’s social media accounts. Infographic articles were promoted similarly using a visual infographic. Infographics were also published and promoted on the’s website and social media channels. Abstract views, full-text views, and the change in Altmetric score were compared between groups using unpaired two-tailed t-tests.

Results: There were no significant differences in the groups at baseline. Abstract views (mean, 95% CI) were higher in the infographics (379, 287-471) than the control group (176, 136-215, p<0.001). Mean change in Altmetric scores was higher in the infographics (26, 18-34) than in the control group (3, 2-4, p<0.0001). There was no difference in full-text views between the infographics (50, 0-101) and control groups (25, 18-32).

Conclusion: The promotion of CJEM articles using infographics on social media and the website increased Altmetric scores and abstract views. Infographics may have a role in increasing awareness of medical literature.

Keywords: infographics; knowledge translation; online educational resources; social media.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Emergency Medicine / methods*
  • Humans
  • Information Dissemination / methods*
  • Journal Impact Factor
  • Periodicals as Topic*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Social Media*