The novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 has sparked an unprecedented worldwide response in research, medicine, public health, and technology since its discovery in December 2019. Given the extremely contagious nature of the infection, as well as the scarcity of knowledge and present lack of viable treatment options, the necessity for timely exchange and distribution of information has been critical. There have been numerous publications published during the pandemic. Citation counts have traditionally been used to identify high-quality and highly valued articles; but, in a fast-pacing pandemic like the COVID-19 pandemic, this strategy is not always practicable. As a result, interest in the COVID-19 issue will continue to grow both in social media and among academics. Traditional citation-based metrics are statistics of "scholarly impact" on an academic-based audience, but altmetrics may be considered possible measures of a "disseminative impact" on the broader populace. The association between traditional bibliometric analysis (citation count, journal H-index, and IF) and altmetric analysis in the area of COVID-19 and eye research was explored in this work. The efficacy of combining AAS with TCN in evaluating the top 100 "trending" COVID-19 and eye research publications was investigated in this study. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to compare traditional bibliometrics (TCN, journal H-index, and IF) with new metrics like altmetric and dimensions analysis while evaluating publications in the field of COVID-19 and eye research. Previous research has looked into the relationship between citations and altmetrics in different topics, and some has found that while citations and altmetrics are positively correlated to some extent, their correlations are quite weak [24, 25]. According to our findings, and due to the hot topic, AAS was modestly correlated with TCN (r2=0.427), however NTs was strongly correlated with TCN (r=0.806). This showed that both peers in the scientific community and members of the general public are on the same page when it comes to knowledge dissemination.
Traditional bibliometric methods are effective for determining the impact value of scientific articles, but they have a number of drawbacks. Before the published article's citation metrics can be measured, a certain length of time must elapse. As a result, bibliometric analysis cannot be used to assess the influence of a recently published paper in its early years. It makes it difficult for researchers to identify compelling papers, keep track of new research topics, and come up with new research topics. Furthermore, self-citation or citation of related authors' papers may unjustly influence citation quantities. As a result, a new technique for quickly analyzing the quality and impact value of the articles is required. Altmetric analysis is a new way of assessing how much attention items get on social media from huge groups of people . Altmetric analysis provides quick insight into an article's worth and influence . We were granted access to the Altmetric database, which houses nearly 31 million research articles from over 36.000 journals and tracks real-time mentions in public policy documents, blogs, mainstream media, online reference managers like Mendeley, research highlights, post-publication peer review platforms like Open Syllabus, YouTube, and social media networks like Facebook. Altmetric.com calculates AAS to determine the overall level of online effect resulting from a certain research output. The AAS is a weighted number that reflects the expected relative degrees of influence of sources on potential readers based on total mentions of a story across multiple online media (e.g., default weights of: 8 for news outlets, 5 for science blogs, 3 forWikipedia or policy documents, 1 for Twitter, and 0.25 for Facebook).
New developments, fresh ideas, and active study fields are prioritized on social media platforms, particularly on Twitter. We also looked into how COVID-19-related ocular information was disseminated through the global scope of social media via Twitter. In terms of scientific knowledge reliability, we found positive connections between the number of tweets and both traditional and altmetric measures. To summarize; AAS had a week positive connection with H-index (r= 0.215) despite having a moderate positive correlation with journal IF (r=0.458) and TCN (r= 0.427). However, AAS (r=0.998), Dimensions score (r=0.878), TCN (r=0.806), IF (r=0.703), and H-index (r=0.645) were all strongly correlated with NTs. According to these results, items that have been quoted frequently throughout time and are still relevant are more useful on social media and Twitter. While AAS and IF were moderately connected (r=0.458), the NTs and had a strong positive connection (r=0.703). This problem could be explained by the fact that the journal IF is affected by current citations. On Twitter, articles that are still being disputed get a lot more attention. Another explanation is that journals with long-standing Twitter accounts have a higher number of followers. As the number of people who follow you on social media grows, so does your awareness of the journals and your ability to read their articles. It has been discovered that announcing newly published publications on Twitter boosts the number of citations in the years that follow [28, 29]. Furthermore, medical journals with Twitter accounts have a higher IF, and there is a positive relationship between journal IF and the number of Twitter followers [30-32].
In terms of the NTs vs. TCN debate, our findings were contradictory with some of the existing literature. The relationship between NTs and TCN was studied by Haustein et al.  to be relatively modest. According to Thelwall  who has completed over a hundred studies on social media analytics, there was a negative association between NTs and TCN due to the long time required for citation, as opposed to the instantaneous sharing on Twitter. This could be explained by the subject of study. We looked into a topic that was threatening the world, and not only the scientific community, but also the general population, were interested.
In terms of the AAS vs. TCN comparison, our findings are in line with some of the earlier literature. Previous research has found a link between AAS scores and traditional citation count. In their investigation, Kolahi et al.  found a statistically significant positive connection between AAS and TCN. As a result of the rise of social media, they believed the strength of this association will increase in the near future. In the altmetric investigation of the realm of pediatric dental research from 2014 to 2017, Gargovich et al.  discovered a rising positive association between AAS and TCN. In another malnutrition investigation, Suzan et al.  discovered a statistically significant positive association between AAS and TCN, as well as journal IF. Both AAS and NTs were found to have a favorable relationship with ACpY, journal IF, and H-index. These data demonstrate that altmetric and bibliometric characteristics are frequently consistent and linked. Users of social media pay more attention to stories that are still being debated and are current. However, it is crucial to note that all of these studies have concluded that AAS is most successful when used in conjunction with established bibliometric measures, and that AAS should not be used simply to determine the quality of an article.
Although AAS can be used to determine how broadly an item has been disseminated, the correlation between TCN and NTs was lower in our study, suggesting that AAS is less beneficial than NTs. This could be due to a variety of factors. There are various obstacles to the usability of AAS, including the heterogeneity of the platforms used by Altmetric to generate the score, the dynamic nature of AAS, and the fact that many of the platforms we looked at (e.g., Twitter, Facebook, etc.) were not geared toward academics. AAS uses Twitter as one of its sources. The substantial relationships between citation count and Mendeley citations, as well as citation count and Dimensions citations, were not surprisingly given the platforms that Altmetric uses to construct its weighted score and those that the scientific community considers interesting. Mendeley and Dimensions are two well-known websites that scientific academics use to find, organize, and cite previously published research. In comparison to other platforms (such as Twitter or Facebook), which appeal to a broader demography of the general public, these sites attract a more professional group of users who often work in the biomedical scientific sector. Dimensions, a new online scholarly platform for articles, grants, clinical trials, and patents, was introduced in January 2018 by Digital Science, with free partial online access. According to a recent publication, Dimensions' academic database component appears to be a viable alternative to WoS for general citation analysis and citation data in support of certain sorts of research evaluations . We discovered a strong link between TCN and Dimensions score (r=0.877) in our research. In addition, the AAS (r=0.892) revealed a strong association with the Dimensions score, too.
Our research also discovered that during the early stages of the pandemic, the T100 altmetric publications on COVID-19 were published more regularly between March and July 2020. A total of 66 articles were published during the early stages of the pandemic, with the remainder appearing subsequently (between August and December 2020). This could be due to the public's increased interest in and desire for knowledge about the novel infectious disease during the early stages of the pandemic.
COVID-19 has sparked a rapid response from the academic and scientific communities in terms of gathering evidence to assist and inform. To establish which issues, attract much more attention in the research and the general trend, it is necessary to categorize the T100 list according to the key topic groups. The bulk of articles (n=15) were on "clinical aspects of COVID-Eye disease," while the main issue with the highest median AAS, median TCN, median Dimensions score, and NTs was about "precautions for prevention and transmission." This was simply interpreted to mean that the community was far more interested in eye-based preventative strategies.
India had the most articles in numbers in T100 list in our analysis. The People's Republic of China, on the other hand, had the highest TCN (738 citations). China's dominance can be attributed to its vast population, massive scientific output, and large online community. Furthermore, because COVID-19 was originally reported in Wuhan, a slew of important studies by Chinese academics were published in early 2020.
Although original articles accounted for 59 of the altmetric top 100 COVID-19 & Eye articles, there were a variety of document kinds in our list of the altmetric top 100 COVID-19 & Eye articles, including original articles, letters, case reports, editorials, and news. The public's diversified and broad interests in COVID-19 are reflected in this. Scientific papers, in particular, that provide newer and easier-to-understand information, attract the largest audiences in online media. This is in contrast to the majority of traditional citation studies, which found that reviews were the most frequently quoted . Although public interests cover a wide range of topics, the treatment and clinical manifestations of COVID-19 were the ones that appeared most frequently in the top altmetric articles, highlighting the importance of clinical management among the public and reflecting their fear and anxiety about the global spread of the unknown virus.
Social media may become an increasingly significant aspect of public health in the case of the COVID-19 outbreak . People utilize social media not only to express their personal feelings and ideas, but also to find out more about the outbreak. Due to the widespread quarantines imposed around the world as a result of the virus's rapid spread, social media platforms have emerged as one of the most important information channels to the world and among users for all-around, real-time, non-physical communication. There are 3.5 billion active social media users worldwide, or around 45 percent of the global population, and social networking websites are one of the most popular Internet activities with the highest user engagement . The rapid adoption of social media has increased the visibility of public-facing media environments . Because information sharing and dissemination about the novel coronavirus occurs simultaneously inside social media networks, social media platforms may be the greatest venues to learn about people's interests and worries regarding the advent of the new epidemic. Twitter is one of the most popular social media platforms because it encourages interactions between online users, and because it has little access limitations, any users or accounts can become opinion leaders or influential by acting as a network information or communication center . Because of its widespread use and relatively open data policies, Twitter has become a "model organism" for research. It has risen in popularity in the recent decade because it allows users to easily share content and follow accounts, topics, and discussions that are relevant to their interests. As a result of the increased use of Twitter for professional purposes, academics and physicians have begun to use it more frequently for scientific information transmission in recent years. Twitter breaks down academic barriers by allowing scientists and doctors from all around the world to communicate and discuss research ideas. In 2020, 71.9 percent of 160 ophthalmologists had social media accounts, according to research . Many medical journals have their own Twitter accounts as well . At least once, about 20% of all published papers are notified on Twitter . According to recent research, journals with a large Twitter presence also have a high AAS . This outcome is also consistent with earlier research . This conclusion is backed up by our statistics. During our research, we discovered that publications published in journals that used Twitter as the most popular social media channel received the most mentions for the top ten articles. In our research, 77 of the T100 stories were shared on Twitter. Chu DK et al. published the highest NTs paper (with a number of 28256) in the journal of Lancet, which was also the research with the highest TCN. Wu P et al. submitted the second highest TCN and third highest NTs article in journal of JAMA Ophthalmology, detailing the features of ocular findings of COVID-19 patients in Hubei Province, China. Journal of JAMA Ophthalmology also has a Twitter account, which it uses frequently, however it has a minimal impact on the community. However, it is worth noting that the first and second publications with the greatest NTs were both published in journal of Lancet, a general medicine journal that was not specialized in the field of ophthalmology.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, however, social media had a negative side—rumors, stigma, conspiracy theories, and so on. When dealing with a pandemic outbreak, such disinformation can have major consequences for individuals and communities . Unfortunately, the quality of research conducted and published during the COVID-19 epidemic is a problem that must be overlooked. Because of the exponential growth of publications linked to COVID-19, a shortage of experts accessible for peer review, and the requirement for speedy publication during the epidemic, scientific publication has become problematic . As a result of these issues in the present publishing environment, a huge number of published works have been corrected or retracted . The publishing of widespread inaccurate data, whether due to honest error or intentional wrongdoing, could lead to a significant shift in the direction of future studies and clinical decision-making, thereby affecting patient care.
Despite these drawbacks, social media is a particularly effective method for disseminating intellectual works widely . As a result, our ranking of the top 100 altmetric COVID-19 and eye articles offers insight into the spread of scientific knowledge via online media over a certain time period following the appearance of a novel infectious disease.
There are some limitations in our research. To begin, we only used data from Altmetric.com to evaluate alternative measures. We chose it due to its widespread use and incorporation of a diverse set of web channels. If we had utilized alternative altmetric tools that aggregate and offer article-level metrics, such as PlumX, ImpactStory, and PLoS Impact Explorer , our results would have been slightly different. Secondly, we identified scientific publications connected to COVID-19 and eye research by using precise search phrases. As a result, some possible articles may have been overlooked due to their usage of other phrases or keywords. Other constraints arise when it comes to using Twitter. Twitter is not accessible in a number of countries, including China. This may explain why China's advantage in research publication activity was overlooked in comparison to other regions. Other social media platforms, such as WeChat and Sina Weibo, are used in China; however, information on their use in China is restricted at this time. Future research is needed to evaluate social media activity on these alternative platforms, as well as their relationship with publications and how they compare to Twitter usage in other countries, such as the United States (where Twitter is not banned). Finally, we didn't go into great length on Twitter demographics. Measuring the number of Twitter accounts' followers could aid in calculating the number of individuals contacted and the spread of the articles. It could be beneficial to look at the ages, genders, and geographic areas of Twitter account owners to see what's trending for certain target groups. To undertake thorough Twitter studies, including people types, number of follows, and geographical location of Twitter users, further altmetric research is required. This research only looks at the link between tweets and article citations.