Can Mendeley Bookmarks Reflect Readership? A Survey of User Motivations

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Although Mendeley bookmarking counts appear to correlate moderately with conventional citation metrics, it is not known whether academic publications are bookmarked in Mendeley in order to be read or not. Without this information, it is not possible to give a confident interpretation of altmetrics derived from Mendeley. In response, a survey of 860 Mendeley users shows that it is reasonable to use Mendeley bookmarking counts as an indication of readership because most (55%) users with a Mendeley library had read or intended to read at least half of their bookmarked publications. This was true across all broad areas of scholarship except for the arts and humanities (42%). About 85% of the respondents also declared that they bookmarked articles in Mendeley to cite them in their publications, but some also bookmark articles for use in professional (50%), teaching (25%), and educational activities (13%). Of course, it is likely that most readers do not record articles in Mendeley and so these data do not represent all readers. In conclusion, Mendeley bookmark counts seem to be indicators of readership leading to a combination of scholarly impact and wider professional impact.

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APA Citation

Mohammadi, E., Thelwall, M., Kousha, K. (2016). Can Mendeley Bookmarks Reflect Readership? A survey of user motivations. Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology (JASIST). 67(5), 1198–1209.