Preliminary survey of leading general medicine journals' use of Facebook and Twitter

Maged N. Kamel Boulos, Patricia F. Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aim: This study is the first to chart the use of Facebook and Twitter by peer-reviewed medical journals. Methods: We selected the top 25 general medicine journals on the Thomson Reuters Journal Citation Report (JCR) list. We surveyed their Facebook and Twitter presences and scanned their Web sites for any Facebook and (or) Twitter features as of November 2011. Results/Discussion: 20 of 25 journals had some sort of Facebook presence, with 11 also having a Twitter presence. Total ‘Likes’ across all of the Facebook pages for journals with a Facebook presence were 321,997, of which 259, 902 came from the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) alone. The total numbers of Twitter ‘Followers’ were smaller by comparison when compiled across all surveyed journals. ‘Likes’ and ‘Followers’ are not the equivalents of total accesses but provide some proxy measure for impact and popularity. Those journals in our sample making best use of the open sharing nature of social media are closed-access; with the leading open access journals on the list lagging behind by comparison. We offer a partial interpretation for this and discuss other findings of our survey, provide some recommendations to journals wanting to use social media, and finally present some future research directions. Conclusions: Journals should not underestimate the potential of social media as a powerful means of reaching out to their readership.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38-47
JournalJournal of the Canadian Health Libraries Association
Issue number02
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2012


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