Relation between online "hit counts" and subsequent citations: prospective study of research papers in the BMJ

Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine, University of Geneva, CH-1211 Geneva, Switzerland.
BMJ (online) (Impact Factor: 16.38). 10/2004; 329(7465):546-7. DOI: 10.1136/bmj.329.7465.546
Source: PubMed
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    ABSTRACT: To examine whether the number of early online accesses to medical research articles predicts citations in the scientific literature over time. Cohort study of research articles published in the BMJ between January and June 1999. The number of online assesses within 1 week of publication was examined in relation to citation counts in 1999-2004, 2004-2009, and 2009-2014. The 148 included articles were accessed on average 691 times up publication, and each was cited on average 33 times in 1999-2004, 32 times in 2004-2009, and 26 times in 2009-2014. The logarithm of accesses predicted the logarithm of citations for all three subsequent periods, but the association weakened over time (correlation with citations in 1999-2004: 0.54, 2004-2009: 0.49, 2009-2014: 0.39; all P < 0.001). In addition to online accesses, the presence of an abstract also predicted more citations for all periods. Early interest in a medical research article, reflected by online accesses within a week of publication, predicts citations up to 15 years later. This strengthens the validity of online usage as a measure of the scientific merit of publications. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.