Launched today, the annual Altmetric Top 100 highlights the research papers published in the last year that have generated significant international online attention and discussion – from mainstream news media, blogs, Wikipedia, social media platforms (including Twitter, Reddit & Facebook) and in scholarly spaces such as post-publication peer-review forums and patient advocacy groups.
24 of 2016’s Top 100 papers were published in Nature Research journals: Nature, Nature Communications, Nature Neuroscience, Nature Materials, Nature Microbiology and Scientific Reports.
You can read about all of these – and the other 76 – here, but in this blog, the team here in the Nature Research press office have picked six of our favourites from the list. We’ve summarised each of their findings, and linked to some of the best coverage that they received in the media.
For articles from our subscription journals, the Altmetric page includes Springer Nature SharedIt links, which means anyone can access them. SharedIt, our new content-sharing initiative, was launched in October. Read more about it here.
#18 Nature Neuroscience — Brain adaptations to dishonesty beget more dishonesty
Repeated acts of self-serving dishonest behaviour diminish the brain’s sensitivity to dishonesty. The study, published in Nature Neuroscience in October, provides a biological explanation for a ‘slippery slope’ by which minor deviations from the truth over time can snowball into substantial acts of dishonesty.
#32 Nature Materials — Invisible ‘second skin’ helps restore youthful appearance
A new wearable polymer material that can restore the aesthetic and functional properties of healthy, youthful skin was described in a paper published in Nature Materials in May. The new silicon-based film is shown to improve skin function in patients with severely dry skin and reduce the appearance of ageing-related structural changes like wrinkles and under-eye bagging.
The discovery of an Earth-mass planet candidate orbiting the Sun’s closest stellar neighbour, Proxima Centauri, was reported in a Nature paper published in August. The planet, named Proxima b, has a mass about 1.3 times that of the Earth and its temperature is within the range where water could theoretically be liquid on its surface.
The research made the headlines across the globe and was highlighted on the front pages of The New York Times, The Financial Times, The Economist and New Scientist, as well as featuring on BBC 1’s News at Six and News at Ten.
#79 Nature Microbiology — Bacteria dominate new tree of life
A dramatically expanded tree of life was revealed in a paper published in Nature Microbiology in April. The paper, which used new genomic data from over 1,000 little-known organisms and genomes from public databases, describes the vast diversity of Bacteria compared with the other two domains of life — Archaea and Eukarya — and highlights both the major branches of the tree that are currently under-represented and the branches that are probably important for future evolutionary analyses.
#81 Scientific Reports – Long-term training with a brain-machine interface-based gait protocol induces parties neurological recovery in paraplegic patients
A study involving eight paraplegics with chronic spinal cord injuries (SCIs), found that after 12 months’ training with a non-invasive brain-machine interface (BMI) protocol, all participants experienced improvements in sensations (including pain localisation and fine / crude touch) and voluntary muscle control below the level of the spinal cord lesion. The research, published in Scientific Reports in August, suggests that long-term training can induce partial neurological recovery below the level of a spinal cord injury in paraplegics.
The paper appeared on the front page of the Financial Times, and there was online coverage by Reuters and STAT. The BBC also covered the story, noting the robotics system the authors demonstrated at the 2014 football World Cup, and highlighting an interview with the author on Science in Action, the BBC World Service’s weekly science news programme.
#85 Nature Communications – A genome-wide association scan in admixed Latin Americans identiﬁes loci inﬂuencing facial and scalp hair features
Genetic variations associated with differences in the distribution, shape and colour of facial and scalp hair were identified in a paper published in Nature Communications in March. The research highlighted variants associated with greying, beard thickness and monobrows, among other features.
The findings made the front pages of The Times and The Telegraph, and were featured on page two of The Financial Times, as well as being mentioned on the BBC’s Today programme. It was also covered by STAT, Science, The Washington Post, People’s Daily in China and Reuters.
Altmetric was founded in 2011 and has made it a mission to track and analyse the online activity around scholarly literature. It collates what people are saying about published research outputs in sources such as the mainstream media, policy documents, social networks, blogs and other scholarly and non-scholarly forums to provide a more robust picture of the influence and reach of scholarly work. Altmetric works with some of the biggest publishers, funders and institutions around the world to deliver this data in an accessible and reliable format.
Altmetric is supported by Digital Science, a technology company whose owner, the Holtzbrinck Publishing Group, also has a stake in Springer Nature. You can read today’s announcement in full here.
The selection of the six papers for this blog from the Altmetric Top 100 was based on the views of the Nature Research press office.