Popular reads: the year’s most mentioned research articles

Research data analyst Altmetrics has crunched 25 million mentions of 2.8 million “research outputs” for this year to identify the top 100 articles, “which have truly captured the public imagination.”

The top five sources of articles by institutional affiliation of all authors are the US (72), UK (29), Australia (17), Germany (12) and China (11).

The local heroes are led by Will Steffen and colleagues from the ANU and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research for “Trajectories of the Earth System in the Anthropocene,” “without major interventions to curb emissions, global warming will soon be stuck in a frightening feedback loop” (4th). The world number nine was Terry Hughes (James Cook U) and colleagues, “Global warming transforms coral reef assemblages.”

There is an emphasis on environmental science and medicine in the other Australians participating articles, although one exception is a multi-author study that concluded humans were out of Africa earlier than thought, which was 63rd.


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