A Randomized Trial of Social Media from Circulation
Background—Medical journals use social media to distribute the findings of published articles. Whether social media exposure to original articles improves article impact metrics is uncertain.
Methods and Results—Articles were randomized to receive targeted social media exposure from Circulation, including postings on the journal's Facebook and Twitter feeds. The primary end-point was 30-day article page views. We conducted an intention-to-treat analysis comparing article page views by the Wilcoxon Rank sum test between papers randomized to social media as compared to those in the control group, which received no social media from Circulation. Pre-specified subgroups included article type (population/clinical/basic), US vs. non-US corresponding author, and whether the manuscript received an editorial. Overall, 243 manuscripts were randomized: 121 in the social media arm and 122 in the control arm. There was no difference in median 30-day page views (409 [social media] vs 392 [control], p=0.80). No differences were observed by manuscript type (clinical, population, or basic science; p=0.19), whether a manuscript had an editorial (p=0.87), or whether the corresponding author was from the United States (p=0.73).
Conclusion—A social media strategy for a cardiovascular journal did not increase the number of times an article was viewed. Further research is necessary to understand the ways in which social media can increase the impact of published cardiovascular research.
- Received September 29, 2014.
- Revision received October 23, 2014.
- Accepted October 24, 2014.