What happens when you share your article on social media? How much of an impact does it make on your research? In Tracking the digital footprints to scholarly articles from social media from Scientometrics, the authors take a closer at the important role social media has at disseminating scholarly articles.
Social media plays an important role in directing people to scholarly articles, which is confirmed for the first time with real data in this study. According to our empirical study with 110 sample articles, article visits directed by social referrals account for about 12.10 % (final period) to 15.41 % (initial period) of total visits. At the initial period after the publication of scholarly article, social attention comes very quickly. From the temporal perspective, the distribution of visits from social media is very uneven. In most cases, visits from social media are much faster to accumulate than visits from other referrals, most visits directed by social referrals are concentrated in the initial few days after publication. According to our statistics, 76.88 % of the visits from social media are generated in the initial week after publication. Easy come, easy go, social buzz about scholarly articles doesn’t last long, which leads to the resulted article visits a rapid decay.
Twitter and Facebook are the two most important social referrals that directing people to scholarly articles, the two are about the same and account for over 95% of the total social referral directed visits. And the share of other social media is negligible, including LinkedIn, Google+, Reddit, etc.
The visiting dynamics analysis also shows that there is an obvious overall downward temporal trend for the percentage of visits from social media in total visits. For papers one day after publication, social referral directed visits account for 20.28 % of all visits. After 90 days, the percentage decreases to only 9.06 %.
For some papers, there are spikes for the daily social referral directed visits. However, the few spikes have great influences on the overall situation. Taking paper 1605 as the case, we find that the spike of visits is caused by the spike of tweets, there is synchronism between tweets and tweets resulted visits.