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Which Papers Got the Most Attention Online This Year? #AltmetricTop100

11th December 2018
By Katy Alexander

Climate crisis, false news, and alcohol’s effects on health top the list of 2018’s most discussed research

From the shocking mortality rates in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria to the spread of false news online, many of this year’s most important issues feature in the Altmetric Top 100, released today.

The annual Altmetric Top 100 highlights research published in 2018 that has generated significant international online attention and discussion – from post-publication peer review sites and public policy documents to mainstream media, blogs, Wikipedia, and social media platforms.

Top 3 articles of 2018:

  1. Mortality in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria (New England Journal of Medicine, July 2018)
  2. The spread of true and false news online (Science, March 2018)
  3. Alcohol use and burden for 195 countries and territories, 1990–2016: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2016 (The Lancet, September 2018)

The Altmetric Top 100 typically features research from a variety of disciplines, written by authors from all corners of the globe.

This year’s Top 100 includes articles that touch on many topics, with a particular focus on themes such as the dire environmental consequences of climate change, links between mental health and physical fitness, and the spread of misinformation online.

Research related to Medical & Health Sciences once again appeared most often in the Top 100.

Satchit Balsari, a co-author of the most discussed academic paper this year, emphasised the importance of his team’s research on mortality rates following Hurricane Maria. The event is regarded as the worst natural disaster on record to affect Dominica and Puerto Rico. He said:

“Colleagues from Puerto Rico were concerned that the official death counts seemed very low compared to what they were seeing in their communities, and reached out to us to see whether there was a way to help ascertain the mortality estimate. Given the large difference in our mortality estimates and the official counts, it was gratifying to see that the media played its role in efficiently translating a scientific paper for mass consumption.”

The paper is the most widely shared in the Altmetric Top 100’s six-year history.

Altmetric’s COO, Catherine Williams, commented:

“The Altmetric Top 100 continues to highlight an array of fascinating and diverse research that often relates to the broader cultural zeitgeist and the year’s most notable events. From climate change to misinformation and diets, the most widely shared and discussed research focuses on global challenges that affect us all. Encouragingly, the levels of attention we see here demonstrates that expert knowledge still plays a very central role in our shared understanding of these issues.”

This year’s list features papers published in 45 different journals. The University of Cambridge had the most affiliated papers (10 papers), while the journal Science featured more than any other (12 times).

View the full list at:

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