Altmetric Data Analysis Reveals How Parkinson’s Disease Research Affects the World

13 February 2017

February 13 2017, London, UK and Boston, USA: ÜberResearch and Altmetric, leading data and analytics companies serving scientific funders and research organizations, have published an analysis of Parkinson’s disease research papers with the highest Altmetric Attention Scores in the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease. The publication is the first in a series aimed at utilizing Altmetric data to provide a more nuanced understanding of how the announcements of new medical discoveries affect the wide-range of disease-specific stakeholders including researchers, funders, care providers, and patients.

Altmetric Attention Scores are a weighted count of the volume of attention a research article has received, intended to reflect the likely visibility and reach of the publication amongst audiences both within and beyond academia.

The research team was led by Prof. Bastiaan R. Bloem, Medical Director of the Parkinson Centre Nijmegen (ParC), a Dutch center of excellence for Parkinson’s disease. Bloem commented, "Our paper opens up a fascinating discussion about how we should define the quality of good research. Traditional and widely accepted metrics are based on citations and judgement by peers in the field. But the world is changing fast, with lay people now having an unprecedented ability to offer their own feedback on issues that were previously reserved for experts.” He continues “Our paper highlights the fact that science is no exception, and that discussions about research papers in social media such as Twitter and Facebook offer a new dimension of scientific quality, by reflecting how important and societally relevant new research findings might be. It was exciting to see how the new ‘altmetrics’ largely overlapped with traditional measures of quality, but also offered complementary insights."

First author on the paper, Dr. Rui Araújo, a neurology resident in the Department of Neurology in the Centro Hospitalar e Universitário de Coimbra (PT), elaborated, “There seems to be a correlation between altmetrics and conventional metrics, but notable exceptions occur. Institutional leaders who are serious about understanding how research affects the world should be aware of publications with high Altmetric Attention Scores, regardless of whether they come from discoveries made internally or by competing groups.”

Aaron Sorensen, ÜberResearch’s Senior Scientometrics Analyst, and Stacy Konkiel, Altmetric’s Director of Research & Education, led the team from a data-science perspective. It was Sorensen’s idea to make the Parkinson’s analysis the first of a series. “My hypothesis is that the degree to which the root cause of a given disease is understood and the degree to which that disease is treatable will have a big impact on the kinds of medical discoveries which generate the greatest online attention. Using the same methodology we employed for Parkinson’s, our plan is to study other neurological disorders to determine whether there are disease-specific factors which explain any observed differences in the type of biomedical research most likely to receive a high Altmetric Attention Score.”

The results are published in this paper in the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease.

For further enquiries contact:

Aaron Sorensen, Senior Scientometrics Analyst, ÜberResearch
Company: ÜberResearch
Contact e-mail: Aaron Sorensen

About ÜberResearch: ÜberResearch is a leading provider of software solutions focused on helping funding organizations, non-profits, and governmental institutions make more informed decisions about science funding. The company’s cloud-based platform provides better views of an organization’s grant data, peer organization activities, and the data of the funding community at large. The software functions span search and duplication detection to robust tools for reviewer identification and portfolio analysis.

ÜberResearch is a global business with main offices in Cologne, Germany; London, United Kingdom; Washington DC & Columbia, USA and other European and US locations. ÜberResearch is a portfolio company of Digital Science. For more information, visit: and follow @uberresearch on Twitter.

About Altmetric: Altmetric was founded in 2011. Its mission is to track and analyze the online activity around scholarly literature. Altmetric is the trusted altmetrics provider for some of the world’s biggest publishers, funders and institutions, delivering real-time attention data in an accessible and reliable format. Altmetric is supported by Digital Science, which is operated by the global media company Holtzbrinck Publishing Group. Find out more at and follow on Twitter @altmetric.

About Digital Science: Digital Science is a technology company serving the needs of scientific and research communities, at the laboratory bench or in a research setting. It invests in and incubates scientific software companies that simplify the research cycle, making more time for discovery. Its portfolio companies include a host of leading and admired brands including Altmetric, BioRAFT, Figshare, Labguru, Overleaf, ReadCube, GRID, TetraScience, Symplectic and ÜberResearch. It is operated by global media company, Holtzbrinck Publishing Group.

About the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease (JPD): Launched in 2011, the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease is dedicated to providing an open forum for original research in basic science, translational research and clinical medicine that will expedite our fundamental understanding and improve treatment of Parkinson’s disease. The journal is international and multidisciplinary and aims to promote progress in the epidemiology, etiology, genetics, molecular correlates, pathogenesis, pharmacology, psychology, diagnosis and treatment of Parkinson’s disease. Published by IOS Press.

The Article: Top Altmetric Scores in the Parkinson’s Disease Literature, by Rui Araújo, Aaron A. Sorensen, Stacy Konkiel and Bastiaan Bloem. Journal of Parkinson's Disease, vol. 7, no. 1, pp. 81-87, 2017