Abstract: Introduction: It is possible that social media use can boost not just articles’ social impact but the number of citations and academic influence as well. If a positive correlation between Twitter usage and citation metrics exists in the ophthalmology literature, it is important to broadcast this information to the ophthalmology community so they can use Twitter to increase academic engagement with their research. There has also been an increase in the number of articles available as open access. Therefore, it is important to evaluate the presence of an open-access citation advantage in the field of ophthalmology. This study aims to evaluate the relationship between Twitter mention and open access status on citation metrics in the ophthalmology literature.
Methods: We conducted a retrospective cross-sectional study comparing article citation metrics to Twitter mentions and open access status. We gathered data on ophthalmology research articles from the six highest-ranked ophthalmology journals published as part of a January 2019 issue. Data were collected in April 2022, 38 months after online publication. Data on citations for each article was based on Google Scholar and Scopus websites. The Altmetric Bookmarklet extension was used to determine the amount of social engagement each article received. The open-access status of each article was based on the status listed in its corresponding journal. Two-tailed t-tests were used to compare social media engagement and open access status with the number of Google Scholar and Scopus citations.
Results: A total of 102 original research articles were analyzed. 89 (87.3%) articles received a Twitter mention. Articles tweeted at least once had a significantly higher Google Scholar score (27.2 +/- 4) compared to articles not tweeted (16.4 +/- 1.7; 1.7-fold increase, p<0.05). Likewise, the average Scopus score was significantly higher for tweeted articles (18.6 +/- 2.6) compared to articles not tweeted (11.8 +/- 1.6; 1.6-fold increase, p<0.05). Articles listed as open access had a significantly higher number of Twitter mentions (11.8 +/- 1.8) compared to articles that were not open access (5.6 +/- 0.7; 2.1-fold increase, p<0.05). Open-access articles also had higher citation scores compared to articles that are not open access, but this relationship was not statistically significant.
Conclusion: This is the first study to evaluate the relationship between article Twitter mention and citation score in the field of ophthalmology. It demonstrates a significant positive correlation between the article Twitter mention and citation score and provides further evidence that social media engagement can be beneficial to the dissemination of academic information. Further studies on the relationship between social media engagement and article dissemination are warranted in the field of ophthalmology.