Top 100 most shared articles of 2014

by Fred Showker

The graphic design of ... Creative tidbits - a column in DTG Magazine Mainstream news and online sharing stimulates conversations for some of the most ‘talked about’ research articles this year. Alternative metrics provider Altmetric LLP has looked at the top 100 academic papers receiving the most online attention in 2014 – and the conversations happening around them.

The list provides a detailed overview of the published research articles that have generated the largest amount of sharing and discussion across mainstream and social media, blogs, peer-review forums, platforms such as Reddit and YouTube, and bookmarking sites.

The 10 most shared scientific research papers for 2014:

  1. Experimental evidence of massive-scale emotional contagion through social networks
  2. Variation in Melanism and Female Preference in Proximate but Ecologically Distinct Environments
  3. Artificial sweeteners induce glucose intolerance by altering the gut microbiota
  4. Stimulus-triggered fate conversion of somatic cells into pluripotency
  5. Dogs are sensitive to small variations of the Earth's magnetic field
  6. Christmas 2013: Research: The survival time of chocolates on hospital wards: covert observational study
  7. Epidemiological modeling of online social network dynamics
  8. Searching the Internet for evidence of time travelers
  9. Conscious Brain-to-Brain Communication in Humans Using Non-Invasive Technologies
  10. Were James Bond's drinks shaken because of alcohol-induced tremor?

The most featured researchtop_articles_statistics

Medical and health research topped the list with 44% of sharing across mainstream and social channels. The most popular ranged from topics such as the effect of artificial sweeteners on glucose intolerance to the origins of the Ebola virus

Biological sciences accounted for 20% of the Top 100. Articles in this category included controversial (and later disproven) studies on the creation of human stem cells in acid baths, and many others focussed on the ancestral genomes of humans and animals.

Physical sciences ranked third with 9% in total from these areas of study – the most popular of which was a new theory on the nature of black holes from renowned Professor, Stephen Hawking.

International Collaborationtop_articles_countries

US research leads the way; UK led projects show close links to American scientists

  • 80% of articles in top 100 which named a British author were the result of international collaborations
  • 85% of those collaborations included contributions from researchers in North America
  • 27% received input from researchers in Central or South America, the Asia Pacific region, or Africa
  • 37 (or 54%) of the 68 US outputs listed were produced by only US based academics
  • Collaborations with researchers in Central or South America, the Asia pacific region, or Africa were found in just 14 (20%) of articles that also featured a US author.

Euan Adie, Founder of Altmetric, said of the Top 100:

Quoting Euan Adie begins We continue to see a significant increase in the volume of research being shared and discussed online, and in the audiences engaging in those conversations. It’s no surprise to see that the most shared articles of the year heavily mirror the media agenda, but interesting to note that on occasion online communities are drawing attention to studies that have not received a significant amount of mainstream coverage.
      For example, we had more than 2,000 tweets for a study on how gaining basic certification affected nursing confidence levels. This reached a combined following of more than 2.2 million followers, demonstrating how social media can really boost the profile of some online published studies. Quoting  ends

GO Which academic research caught the public imagination in 2014?

Methodology Data was collated from November 14th 2013 to 14th of November 2014, for articles publisher from November 2013 onwards. Editorial, comment, review and other non-original research content is excluded. Author and institutional data was collected from PubMed, or from the original article page if there was no associated PubMed record. Altmetric scores shown were captured at the time of collation, and may have changed slightly since.
About Altmetric LLP Altmetric is focused on making article level metrics easy. We track what people are saying about articles online on behalf of authors, international publishers, funders and institutions. Our clients include Elsevier, Nature Publishing Group, Springer and the Wellcome Trust.
Altmetric is supported by Digital Science – a technology company that combines world-class technology with a resolute focus on scientists and those who support the research process. Digital Science is a division of Macmillan Science & Education – one of the largest and best-known international publishing and technology groups in the world; characterized by high-quality academic, scholarly and educational businesses. For more information, visit and

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Fred Showker

      Editor/Publisher : DTG Magazine
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      Published online since 1988


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