Tweets vs. Mendeley readers: How do these two social media metrics differ?

Stefanie Haustein, Vincent Larivière, Mike Thelwall 4 , Didier Amyot 2 , and Isabella Peters 5
  • 1 École de bibliothéconomie et des sciences de l'information, Université de Montréal
  • 2 Science-Metrix Inc.
  • 3 Observatoire des sciences et des technologies (OST), Centre interuniversitaire de recherche sur la science et la technologie (CIRST), Université du Québec à Montréal
  • 4 School of Technology, University of Wolverhampton, Wolverhampton
  • 5 ZBW – German National Library of Economics, Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, Kiel


A set of 1.4 million biomedical papers was analyzed with regards to how often articles are mentioned on Twitter or saved by users on Mendeley. While Twitter is a microblogging platform used by a general audience to distribute information, Mendeley is a reference manager targeted at an academic user group to organize scholarly literature. Both platforms are used as sources for so-called “altmetrics” to measure a new kind of research impact. This analysis shows in how far they differ and compare to traditional citation impact metrics based on a large set of PubMed papers.

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