President Obama Penned 2016’s Most Popular Scientific Paper [Video]


Altmetric measures popularity of scientific publications online and in their third annual Top 100 list, the paper "United States and Health Care Reform: Progress to Date and Next Steps" written by Pres. Obama topped the most popular list.

According to Scientific American, Altmetric analyzes how articles percolate in the internet. It pays attention to how much it's shared in social media platforms, forums, news outlets and even Wikipedia.

Altmetric founder Euan Adie, however, clarified that the Top 100 lists the most shared academic papers and does not necessarily ranks the best ones. The list captures which published research catches most people's attention online.

According to Gizmodo, President Obama's article received an Altmetric Attention Score of 8,063, which is 64% higher than the next most popular paper, is the highest Altmetric Attention Score ever.

Being written by a sitting president it is no surprise that the paper performed well, considering that it also dealt with a controversial subject. The paper, which appeared in the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA), was featured in 315 news stories and was tweeted about over 9,000 times. Overall, other articles in the list got an average of 1,000 tweets and 229 news features.

Unlike typical scientific papers, President Obama's research was not peer reviewed though it went through thorough fact-checks for months. It assessed the performance and effectiveness of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and made health policy recommendations for the next president.

While former presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush have previously published opinions in academic journals, this is sid to be the first time an American chief executive wrote an entire scientific paper.

Other papers that made it to this year's list includes research on space and astronomy and health, with medical science papers occupying half of the list with 49 articles. The paper Medical error-the third leading cause of death in the US, which was published in the British Medical Journal came in at number 2 and Observation of Gravitational Waves From a Binary Black Hole Merger published by the American Physical Society came in at third.

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