SAN JUAN – A study on the death toll in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria and the spread of fake news online topped the articles in the Altmetric Top 100.The annual list by Altmetric, which develops software to analyze online activity around scholarly research, reveals the discussion generated by published works in public policy documents, the media, blogs, Wikipedia and social networks to “provide a more robust picture of the influence and reach of scholarly work,” according to the company.
The company said it tracked more than 25 million mentions “of 2.8 million research outputs.”
Altmetric spoke with Satchit Balsari, a co-author of the most discussed academic paper this year, who emphasized 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.
“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,” Balsari said.
The paper is the most widely shared in the Altmetric Top 100’s six-year history.
“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,” Altmetric COO Catherine Williams said. “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), while the journal Science featured more than any other (12 times).
The list features papers published in 45 different journals, with the journal Science appearing more than any other single title (12 times).
Authors from the University of Cambridge appeared more than any other institution (10 papers). Other institutions that feature strongly in the list include Harvard University (9) and University of Oxford (8); non-university organizations include the United States National Institute on Aging (3) and Hennepin Healthcare (3).