POTUS research tops Altmetric rankings

Research by President Obama on US healthcare reform was the most widely discussed and shared academic paper of 2016, resulting in the highest Altmetric Attention Score ever tracked. Obama’s paper on the progress of the Affordable Healthcare Act and recommendations for future governments, in the medical journal JAMA, also marked a first from a sitting president.

The annual Altmetric Top 100 highlights published research papers in 2016 that have generated significant international online attention and discussion – from mainstream news media, blogs,  Wikipedia, social media platforms (including Twitter, Reddit & Facebook) and in scholarly spaces such as post-publication peer-review forums and patient advocacy groups. 

The top 10 articles of 2016 were:

  •     President Obama’s paper on the progress achieved with the United States’ landmark healthcare legislation and lessons for future policy makers
  •     Medical error is the third largest cause of death in the US
  •     Phenomenon of two distant black holes colliding observed and celebrated
  •     New giant planet may be lurking in our solar system
  •     Sugar industry sponsored research to draw consumers’ attention away from sugar’s impact on coronary heart disease
  •     Emergence of Zika and the resulting risk of microcephaly and brain damage to infants of affected mothers alarmed parents-to-be the world over
  •     Your social status may have a direct impact on your life expectancy
  •     Wearing a fitness tracker doesn’t appear to improve weight loss
  •     Artificial intelligence beats human European Go champion for the first time
  •     One of the world’s astronomical wonders, the Milky Way, is invisible to 60 per cent of Europeans due to light pollution

Many articles in the Top 100 feature contributions from a large number of authors, spread across different continents. Strength in US and mainland European collaborations is evidenced in the 49 papers featuring authors from those regions, while authors from Canada and Australia most often collaborated with peers in the US and Germany.

US researchers (75 papers with US authors ) continue to be largest contributors, followed by their British counterparts (33 papers with UK authors). Some 45 papers featured European authors, including those from the UK. Almost half of the Top 100 were the result of papers co-authored by US & European researchers (not including the UK).
The most widely discussed research topics in 2016 were: medical and health sciences (49); biological sciences (14); studies on human society (12); physical sciences (6); and earth & environmental sciences (6).

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