Online presentations as a source of scientific impact? An analysis of PowerPoint files citing academic journals



Open-access online publication has made available an increasingly wide range of document types for scientometric analysis. In this article, we focus on citations in online presentations, seeking evidence of their value as nontraditional indicators of research impact. For this purpose, we searched for online PowerPoint files mentioning any one of 1,807 ISI-indexed journals in ten science and ten social science disciplines. We also manually classified 1,378 online PowerPoint citations to journals in eight additional science and social science disciplines. The results showed that very few journals were cited frequently enough in online PowerPoint files to make impact assessment worthwhile, with the main exceptions being popular magazines like Scientific American and Harvard Business Review. Surprisingly, however, there was little difference overall in the number of PowerPoint citations to science and to the social sciences, and also in the proportion representing traditional impact (about 60%) and wider impact (about 15%). It seems that the main scientometric value for online presentations may be in tracking the popularization of research, or for comparing the impact of whole journals rather than individual articles.