Social media metrics of plain language summaries on Figshare

20 June 2023

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Plain language summaries (PLS) present research findings in accessible language and formats and are valuable to many different readers. Journals often use external platforms such as Figshare to host their PLS – but are these locations apparent and visible to readers?

We wanted to find out if PLS on Figshare are being shared on social media blogs and news sites. First, we identified all the articles published in Adis journals that had used Figshare to host their PLS. Then, we compared the metrics associated with the full articles and those associated with the linked Figshare PLS locations. We focused on metrics from the ‘Twitter’, ‘Facebook’, ‘Blogs’ and ‘News’ categories.

Overall, we found 54 articles in Adis journals that hosted their PLS on Figshare to use in our analysis. From the metrics, we discovered that 59% (32) of the full articles had any metrics available, whereas only 2% (1) of the corresponding PLS on Figshare had any metrics.

This demonstrates missed opportunities to make readers aware of PLS. To help to improve the visibility of PLS on Figshare, publishers could better utilize social media, press releases and microsites to broadcast publications. They could also use strategic metadata and tagging to ensure that PLS appear in online searches and repositories. Finally, they could consider establishing a searchable, cross-publisher hub for readers to access PLS.

To find out more about the study you can access the poster here.