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Introducing the Twitter Impact Factor: An Objective Measure of Urology's Academic Impact on Twitter

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Background Social media use in academia and urology is rising. Specifically, individual journals now have Twitter accounts (Twitter Inc, San Francisco, CA, USA) and regularly tweet academic content. Objective To present and evaluate the Twitter impact factor (TIF), a novel means of measuring a journal's academic influence in the realm of social media. Design, setting, and participants Journal Citation Reports (JCR; Thomson Reuters, New York, NY, USA) for 2014 was queried for urologic academic journals. English-language journals with active Twitter accounts since 2013 were included. The total number of followers, tweets, and retweets over a 2-yr period were collected. Outcome measures and statistical analysis Each journal's TIF was calculated based on the number of retweets per original relevant tweet. Comparisons between the TIF and the journal impact factor (JIF) as well as the Klout score were made using the Pearson correlation. Results and limitations Of 33 journals listed in the JCR for 2014, 7 (21%) had a Twitter presence as of 2013. The number of JCR-listed journals with a Twitter handle increased by 29% in 2014. There was an increase in the mean number of relevant tweets per journal during the study period and a 130% increase in the number of retweets over 1 yr. European Urology (1.80) and BJU International (1.46) had the highest TIFs. The journals with the highest number of Twitter followers were European Urology (5807) and the Journal of Urology (4402). The journals with the highest numbers of relevant tweets were European Urology (1159) and BJU International (1090). There was a positive but statistically insignificant association between the TIF and the JIF (r = 0.64, p = 0.12). There was a strongly positive linear correlation between the TIF and the Klout score (r = 0.84, p = 0.0086). Conclusions With the increasing use of social media by individuals and academic journals, the TIF can be a useful tool to measure the academic reach and impact of a journal on Twitter. Patient summary Social media is an increasing part of the way in which practitioners and academicians communicate. The TIF can be used to analyze the impact of journal Twitter feeds and their social media content.




Cardona-Grau, D., Sorokin, I., Leinwand, G., & Welliver, C. (2016). Introducing the Twitter Impact Factor: An Objective Measure of Urology’s Academic Impact on Twitter. European Urology Focus, 2(4), 412–417.

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