How accessibility influences citation counts: The case of citations to the full text articles available from ResearchGate

Mohammad Sababi, Sayed Amir Marashi, Moohebat Pourmajidian, Sana S. Pourtabatabaei, Faezeh Darki, Mohammad Reza Sadrzadeh, Mohsen Dehghani, Amirali Zandieh, Mohammad Kazem Zim, Meisam Yousefi, Monireh Jamalkhah, S. Kasra Tabatabaei, Fatemeh Safaeifard, Andisheh Talaei, Motahareh Sobat, Faezeh Moakedi, Pouyan Nejadi


It is generally believed that the number of citations to an article can positively be correlated to its free online availability. In the present study, we investigated the possible impact of academic social networks on the number of citations. We chose the social web service “ResearchGate” as a case. This website acts both as a social network to connect researchers, and at the same time, as an open access repository to publish post-print version of the accepted manuscripts and final versions of open access articles. We collected the data of 1823 articles published by the authors from four different universities. By analyzing these data, we showed that although different levels of full text availability are observed for the four universities, there is always a significant positive correlation between full text availability and the citation count. Moreover, we showed that both post-print version and publisher’s version (i.e., final published version) of the archived manuscripts receive more citations than non-OA articles, and the difference in the citation counts of post-print manuscripts and publisher’s version articles is nonsignificant.

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