Conference paper Open Access

New insights on social media metrics: examining the relationship between universities' academic reputation and Wikipedia attention

Arroyo-Machado, Wenceslao; Díaz-Faes, Adrián A.; Costas, Rodrigo

This paper explores how universities academic reputation as measured by scientometric indicators is to some extent related to social attention captured in Wikipedia, and tries to identify the main variables involved in this relationship. We find that the publication size and highly cited publications have a positive association with social attention on Wikipedia. However, when variables that account for geographical and cultural factors come into play, the latter’s influence is reduced significantly. This suggests that in the translation of academic reputation to the social media realm, different factors than just the academic performance of universities may also be playing important roles, including geographical, cultural, and linguistic aspects, which are usually not consider in most altmetric research. These results suggest important directions for future research, which should inevitably consider contextual factors to properly disentangle the relationship between academic reputation and Wikipedia social attention, including among others the Wikipedia pages of universities in languages other than English. Finally, it is also important to remark that the approach developed in this paper for Wikipedia could easily be also extrapolated to other social media platforms, like Twitter, Facebook or even more local platforms like WeChat, enabling more advanced studies of the relationships between the academic reputation and social media impact of scientific entities.

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