Project time line: 2015 – 2019

This research project explores how African research publications are reflected by the most important altmetrics sources. The project considers all African publication data from both the Web of Science and the Altmetric.com databases, making it the largest altmetric study on the African continent to date.

The project is critical in the light of the prevailing debate as to how to capture and measure the social impact of scientific activities, where the use of so-called ‘altmetric’ indicators is currently explored. These indicators capture the presence, discussion and reception of scientific publications in social media networks such as Twitter, Facebook and blogs, as well as in mainstream news media. The project represents a unique opportunity to acquire insights into the relevance and possibilities of these new sources in informing the reception of African publications by different audiences worldwide; as well as to gain a better understanding of the social outreach of African publications across social media communities.

Highlights to date

  • The analysis of the research topics that are engaging African scholars and that are receiving a substantial attention on Twitter. Among these we find topics such as maternal mortality, AIDS and malaria transmission, which are important in the research African landscape but are also exhibit a strong social media reception.
  • The first global identification of scholars on Twitter ever, identifying more than 300 000 scholars with a presence on Twitter.

Research team