The snowball effect: promoting Cochrane evidence via social media

A Littlewood, P Riley

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


    Background: Social media allows the exchange of information and ideas in virtual communities and networks and could be a useful tool to promote the use of Cochrane evidence. Objectives: To track a recently published Cochrane Oral Health Group Review, and see how it has been promoted via social media channels (e.g. blogs, Twitter, etc.). Methods: The Cochrane Library is now linked to Altmetrics, which shows article level metrics for individual Cochrane Reviews. The Oral Health Group actively promoted the review “Triclosan/copolymer containing toothpastes for oral health”, and then tracked the Altmetrics score to see how often it was retweeted on Twitter, how often it was blogged, and how this compared to other articles of the same age. We also looked at where in the world it was mentioned on social media. Results: According to Altmetrics, the review was blogged three times, and tweeted 58 times by 47 people. It also appeared on two news sites. It was tweeted in Spanish, Dutch and Japanese as well as English. The Twitter activity came primarily from the UK, but also Australia, Spain, Japan, the Netherlands, Peru, Chile and Canada. The article has an Altmetrics score of 74, which means it is in the top 5% of all articles tracked by Altmetrics (1.9 million articles). Compared to other articles in the Cochrane Library, it has scored higher than 95% of the other reviews published around the same time. Conclusions: The results of this experiment show that social media can attract attention to Cochrane evidence. However, we need to know more about how often this results in more people reading the full review, and how great an impact it could have on practice or informing patients. There are limitations to Altmetrics, as it did not initially pick up all blog posts about the review.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationhost publication
    Publication statusPublished - 2014
    EventCochrane Colloquium - Madrid, Spain
    Duration: 1 Jan 1824 → …


    ConferenceCochrane Colloquium
    CityMadrid, Spain
    Period1/01/24 → …
    Internet address


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