An examination of the effect of open versus paywalled access publication on the disseminative impact and citation count of publications in intensive care medicine and anesthesia

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We aimed to assess the impact of open access (OA) versus paywalled access (PA) publication on Altmetric Attention Scores (AAS) and whether AAS correlates with future citation count access in the context of intensive care medicine (ICM) and anesthesia.


1854 and 2935 publications, in the year 2015, were identified in ICM and anesthesia respectively, using a Pubmed search. The mean AAS was measured for each article.


More ICM articles were OA, compared to of anesthesia articles (38.9% v 35.0% p = 0.02). The mean AAS for OA ICM publications was significantly higher than that of PA ICM publications (17.34 vs 8.45, p < 0.01), however, this was not observed when examined in a fixed follow up time frame. AAS appear to correlate with future citation counts.


ICM publications that are available as OA in the medium term result in higher AAS when compared to PA publications, this phenomenon was not observed in anesthesia. AAS correlate with future citation counts, however, a larger study is required to confirm this.

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