Association Between Twitter Mentions and Academic Citations in Otolaryngology Literature

Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2022 Jul;167(1):73-78. doi: 10.1177/01945998211044680. Epub 2021 Sep 14.


Objective: To evaluate the relationship between Twitter mentions and academic citations in otolaryngology literature.

Study design: Retrospective cross-sectional analysis.

Setting: Altmetric Twitter mention and Google Scholar citation rosters.

Methods: Original research articles from 10 leading otolaryngology journals were assessed 26 months after print publication. Article Twitter mentions were tracked through the Altmetric Bookmarklet, and article citation data were determined through the Google Scholar search engine. Twitter mentions and citation metrics of articles were compared through 2-tailed t test analysis (P < .05).

Results: Of all articles, 50.7% (152/300) had at least 1 Twitter mention. Of all article Twitter mentions, 25% (432/1758) happened within the first week of online publication dates, while 64% (1130/1758) occurred between online and print publication dates. Articles mentioned on Twitter had 1.6-fold more Google Scholar citations (8.6 ± 0.7, mean ± SD) than articles with no Twitter mentions (5.4 ± 0.4, P < .01). A total of 8% (24/300) of publications were tweeted by their authors. Articles self-tweeted by authors were associated with an 8.4-citation increase (14.8 ± 3.1) for Google Scholar when compared with articles not shared by their authors on Twitter (6.4 ± 0.4; 2.3-fold increase, P < .01).

Conclusion: Most otolaryngology articles are disseminated over Twitter, with greatest Twitter activity occurring before print publication date of articles. Citations within 2 years of release are positively associated with the number of mentions on Twitter. Article Twitter mentions may augment the academic influence of otolaryngology publications.

Keywords: Twitter; altmetrics; otolaryngology journals; social media.

MeSH terms

  • Bibliometrics
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Journal Impact Factor
  • Otolaryngology*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Social Media*