Statistics from Altmetric.com
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The media play a vital role in science communication, and media coverage of scientific articles is influential and encouraged. Altmetric scores are ‘alternative metrics’ that complement traditional citation-based metrics. They are an extensive group of metrics based on scientific articles’ mainstream media coverage or mentions on social media networks, among other factors.1 In sports science journals, Altmetric scores have a stronger relationship with citations than journal impact factor or open access status.2 Funding bodies value citations creating an incentive for academics to promote their work in the media, but this could result in high-quality research competing with media agency priorities.
Journalists play an essential role in disseminating research findings to a wider audience.3 They have a difficult job translating complex messages under deadline into stories that people will both read and understand.4 It is a delicate situation whereby journalists play a vital role in shaping healthcare utilisation and beliefs3 but do not always have the time and skills to interpret research findings or critically report their flaws. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon that weaker studies, preliminary findings and publications with positive results may attract headlines and higher Altmetric scores, whereas studies with a robust design but a null effect may not.5 6
This commentary aims to examine the Altmetric score of two recently published studies that investigated the relationship between exercise …
Twitter @EdelOH, @MaryOKeeffe007
Contributors EO'H conceived the study. RRNR provided methodological expertise. MO'K provided content area expertise. All authors read, contributed to and approved the final version of the manuscript.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.