The annual global Altmetric Top 100 list highlights the most shared and discussed academic research of 2015

What academic research caught the public imagination in 2015?  Altmetric today unveiled its annual Top 100 list of the most shared and discussed academic research of 2015. According to the list, the most popular paper of the year detailed the discovery of a new antibiotic that inhibits the growth of a range of drug-resistant bacteria, offering hope for efforts aimed at combatting antibiotic resistance which has seen a raft of media attention.

The Altmetric Top 10

  1. A new antibiotic kills pathogens without detectable resistance
  2. Autism Occurrence by MMR Vaccine Status Among US Children With Older Siblings With and Without Autism
  3. Accelerated modern human–induced species losses: Entering the sixth mass extinction
  4. Cancer etiology. Variation in cancer risk among tissues can be explained by the number of stem cell divisions
  5. Estimating the reproducibility of psychological science
  6. Plastic Pollution in the World’s Oceans: More than 5 Trillion Plastic Pieces Weighing over 250,000 Tons Afloat at Sea
  7. The geographical distribution of fossil fuels unused when limiting global warming to 2 °C
  8. An Efficiency Comparison of Document Preparation Systems Used in Academic Research and Development
  9. A Neural Algorithm of Artistic Style
  10. The Negative Association between Religiousness and Children’s Altruism across the World

The other research that caught the public’s attention in 2015 is:

At number two, a topic that has always been known to generate widespread controversy also featured in the list: a major study confirmed there is no harmful association between the MMR vaccine and autism spectrum disorder (ASD), even among children already at higher risk for ASD.

Environmental issues made a big impact too; at number six an investigation into levels of plastic pollution revealed that there are more than five trillion plastic pieces, weighing over 250,000 tons, afloat in our oceans.

Showcasing advances in our understanding of creative talent another article, ranked at number nine, detailed an artificially intelligent program that detected individual artistic styles, such as that of Van Gogh, and can adapt a photograph to match that style.

An article highlighting an association between religion and selfishness in children, came in at number ten whilst a study at number 15 identified the negative effects on both the quality of sleep and next day concentration of the use of eReaders at night; which may prompt caution for those gifting eReaders this Christmas.

Euan Adie, founder of Altmetric explained:

“Altmetric tracks what people are saying about academic research online to provide additional insights to publishers, authors, libraries and institutions. The annual top 100 ranking is determined by the volume of coverage each article has received in the mainstream media, as well as shares and comments on blogs, Wikipedia, social media platforms (including Twitter, Reddit and Facebook), and in scholarly spaces such as post-publication peer-review forums.”

This year’s list features papers published in 34 different journals, with contributions from nearly 2,000 authors.