Citations in Wikipedia for understanding research reach




Citations, Wikipedia, research reach


Objective: Wikipedia is the most frequently accessed online health information resource and is well positioned as a valuable tool for public health communication and knowledge translation. The authors aimed to explore their institution's health and medical research reach by analyzing its presence in Wikipedia articles.

Methods: In October 2022, a comprehensive database search was constructed in PubMed to retrieve clinical evidence syntheses published by at least one author affiliated with McMaster University from 2017 to 2022, inclusive. Altmetric Explorer was queried using PubMed Identifiers and article titles to access metadata and Wikipedia citation data. 3,582 health evidence syntheses from at least one McMaster University affiliated author were analyzed.

Results: Six percent (n=219) of health evidence syntheses from the authors' institution were cited 568 times in 524 unique Wikipedia articles across 28 different language editions. 45% of citations appeared in English Wikipedia, suggesting a broad global reach for the institutions' research outputs. When adjusted for open access publications, 8% of McMaster University's health evidence syntheses appear in Wikipedia.

Conclusion: Altmetric Explorer is a valuable tool for exploring the reach of an institution's research outputs. Isolating Altmetric data to focus on Wikipedia citations has value for any institution wishing to gain more insight into the global, community-level reach of its contributions to the latest health and medical evidence.


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