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Are Mendeley reader counts useful impact indicators in all fields?

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  • Mike Thelwall

    () (University of Wolverhampton)

Abstract

Abstract Reader counts from the social reference sharing site Mendeley are known to be valuable for early research evaluation. They have strong correlations with citation counts for journal articles but appear about a year before them. There are disciplinary differences in the value of Mendeley reader counts but systematic evidence is needed at the level of narrow fields to reveal its extent. In response, this article compares Mendeley reader counts with Scopus citation counts for journal articles from 2012 in 325 narrow Scopus fields. Despite strong positive correlations in most fields, averaging 0.671, the correlations in some fields are as weak as 0.255. Technical reasons explain most weaker correlations, suggesting that the underlying relationship is almost always strong. The exceptions are caused by unusually high educational or professional use or topics of interest within countries that avoid Mendeley. The findings suggest that if care is taken then Mendeley reader counts can be used for early citation impact evidence in almost all fields and for related impact in some of the remainder. As an additional application of the results, cross-checking with Mendeley data can be used to identify indexing anomalies in citation databases.

Suggested Citation

  • Mike Thelwall, 2017. "Are Mendeley reader counts useful impact indicators in all fields?," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 113(3), pages 1721-1731, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:scient:v:113:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s11192-017-2557-x
    DOI: 10.1007/s11192-017-2557-x
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Zahedi, Zohreh & Haustein, Stefanie, 2018. "On the relationships between bibliographic characteristics of scientific documents and citation and Mendeley readership counts: A large-scale analysis of Web of Science publications," Journal of Informetrics, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 191-202.
    2. Thelwall, Mike & Nevill, Tamara, 2018. "Could scientists use Altmetric.com scores to predict longer term citation counts?," Journal of Informetrics, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 237-248.
    3. Thelwall, Mike, 2018. "Dimensions: A competitor to Scopus and the Web of Science?," Journal of Informetrics, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 430-435.
    4. Michael Thelwall, 2018. "Can Microsoft Academic be used for citation analysis of preprint archives? The case of the Social Science Research Network," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 115(2), pages 913-928, May.
    5. Abramo, Giovanni, 2018. "Revisiting the scientometric conceptualization of impact and its measurement," Journal of Informetrics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 590-597.
    6. Thelwall, Mike, 2018. "Do females create higher impact research? Scopus citations and Mendeley readers for articles from five countries," Journal of Informetrics, Elsevier, vol. 12(4), pages 1031-1041.
    7. Mike Thelwall, 2018. "Early Mendeley readers correlate with later citation counts," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 115(3), pages 1231-1240, June.
    8. Kim Holmberg & Han Woo Park, 2018. "An altmetric investigation of the online visibility of South Korea-based scientific journals," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 117(1), pages 603-613, October.

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