Background: The development of an author-level complementary metric could play a role in the process of academic promotion through objective evaluation of scholars' influence and impact.
Objective: The objective of this study was to evaluate the correlation between the Healthcare Social Graph (HSG) score, a novel social media influence and impact metric, and the h-index, a traditional author-level metric.
Methods: This was a cross-sectional study of health care stakeholders with a social media presence randomly sampled from the Symplur database in May 2020. We performed stratified random sampling to obtain a representative sample with all strata of HSG scores. We manually queried the h-index in two reference-based databases (Scopus and Google Scholar). Continuous features (HSG score and h-index) from the included profiles were summarized as the median and IQR. We calculated the Spearman correlation coefficients (ρ) to evaluate the correlation between the HSG scores and h-indexes obtained from Google Scholar and Scopus.
Results: A total of 286 (31.2%) of the 917 stakeholders had a Google Scholar h-index available. The median HSG score for these profiles was 61.1 (IQR 48.2), and the median h-index was 14.5 (IQR 26.0). For the 286 subjects with the HSG score and Google Scholar h-index available, the Spearman correlation coefficient ρ was 0.1979 (P<.001), indicating a weak positive correlation between these two metrics. A total of 715 (78%) of 917 stakeholders had a Scopus h-index available. The median HSG score for these profiles was 57.6 (IQR 46.4), and the median h-index was 7 (IQR 16). For the 715 subjects with the HSG score and Scopus h-index available, ρ was 0.2173 (P<.001), also indicating a weak positive correlation.
Conclusions: We found a weak positive correlation between a novel author-level complementary metric and the h-index. More than a chiasm between traditional citation metrics and novel social media-based metrics, our findings point toward a bridge between the two domains.
Keywords: Scopus; Twitter; altmetrics; digital health care; digital platform; digital scholarship; h-index; health care; journal impact factor; metrics; scientometrics; social media; stakeholders.
©Lucas Oliveira J e Silva, Graciela Maldonado, Tara Brigham, Aidan F Mullan, Audun Utengen, Daniel Cabrera. Originally published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research (https://www.jmir.org), 31.05.2021.