Comparison of academic book impact from a disciplinary perspective: an analysis of citations and altmetric indicators
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Academic books are an important carrier of knowledge for scientific communication. This study aims to gain an improved understanding of academic books by jointly analyzing the altmetric and citation indicators. We explore the impact of academic books among six fields. The data set includes 666,527 records of the Book Citation Index from Web of Science in 2013–2017. Results reveal as follows. (1) The coverage of digital object identifiers and altmetric values on books was relatively low. (2) The impact of books shows evident disciplinary differences in the citation and altmetric indicators. Clinical, Pre-Clinical and Health books had the highest altmetric impact but the lowest citation impact. However, Physical Sciences books showed the opposite traits. Although books are the preferred publication format of the fields of Arts and Humanities; and Social Sciences, the performance of the book impact based on the citation and altmetric indicators was not apparent among six fields. Overall, Social Sciences have relatively better performance than Arts and Humanities. (3) The citation frequency of early publications is significantly higher than that of recent publications, whereas the altmetric attention score presented a growth trend and the cumulative effect is not evident. The clear but weak correlations between altmetric indicators and citations of books were also found. (4) The hierarchical cluster analysis of fields based on the citation and altmetric indicators revealed that the fields of Clinical, Pre-Clinical and Health; and Life Sciences showed high internal homogeneity. However, the fields of Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities are heterogeneous. This study is a constructive attempt to show the macroscopic traits of academic books. Altmetric indexes were involved in multidisciplinary comparison analysis to enhance the understanding of books.