• ResearchGate Articles: Age, Discipline, Audience Size and Impact

      Thelwall, Mike; Kousha, Kayvan (Wiley-Blackwell, 2016-03-28)
      The large multidisciplinary academic social web site ResearchGate aims to help academics to connect with each other and to publicise their work. Despite its popularity, little is known about the age and discipline of the articles uploaded and viewed in the site and whether publication statistics from the site could be useful impact indicators. In response, this article assesses samples of ResearchGate articles uploaded at specific dates, comparing their views in the site to their Mendeley readers and Scopus-indexed citations. This analysis shows that ResearchGate is dominated by recent articles, which attract about three times as many views as older articles. ResearchGate has uneven coverage of scholarship, with the arts and humanities, health professions, and decision sciences poorly represented and some fields receiving twice as many views per article as others. View counts for uploaded articles have low to moderate positive correlations with both Scopus citations and Mendeley readers, which is consistent with them tending to reflect a wider audience than Scopus-publishing scholars. Hence, for articles uploaded to the site, view counts may give a genuinely new audience indicator.