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Currently submitted to: JMIR Dermatology

Date Submitted: Jul 25, 2019
Open Peer Review Period: Jul 29, 2019 - Sep 23, 2019
(currently open for review)

A comparison between traditional citation metrics and altmetrics amongst dermatology journals.

  • Gregg Murray; 
  • Rebecca Hellen; 
  • James Ralph; 
  • Siona Ni Raghallaigh; 



Research impact has traditionally been measured using citation count and impact factor. Academics have long relied heavily on this form of metric system to measure a publication’s impact. A higher number of citations is viewed as an indicator of the importance of the research, and a marker for the impact of the publishing journal. Recently, social media and online news sources have become important avenues for dissemination of research, resulting in the emergence of an alternative metric system known as altmetrics.


We assessed the correlation between altmetric attention score and traditional scientific impact markers, namely journal impact factor (IF) and article citation count for all the dermatology journal and published articles of 2017.


InCites Journal Citation Reports was utilized to identify dermatology journals with their associated impact factor in 2017 [6]. There are 64 official dermatology journals, all of which were included in this study. These journals were entered into Altmetric Explorer, a web based platform that enables users to browse and report on all attention data for every piece of scholarly content Altmetric Explorer has found attention for [5].


For the 64 dermatology journals, there was a moderate positive correlation between journal IF and journal AAS (rs = 0.513, p < 0.0001). From the 64 dermatology journals, 6,323 articles were published in 2017. Our data shows that there was a weak positive correlation between each article’s traditional citation count and AAS (rs = 0.257, p < 0.0001).


Our data also shows a weak correlation between article citation count and AAS. Temporal factors may explain this weak association - newer articles may receive increased online attention after publication while it may take longer for considered scientific citation counts to accumulate. It is also important to note, stories that are at times deemed newsworthy and then disseminated across the media and social media platforms border on sensationalism and may not be truly academic in nature with the opposite being also true.


Please cite as:

Murray G, Hellen R, Ralph J, Ni Raghallaigh S

A comparison between traditional citation metrics and altmetrics amongst dermatology journals.

JMIR Preprints. 25/07/2019:15643

DOI: 10.2196/preprints.15643


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