Scientists who have attended meetings are more likely to cite work discussed in talks they could see in person, compared with results described in sessions that they could not attend. That citation bump from in-person attendance accrues even for talks that conference attendees hadn't planned on listening to.
Attending a talk is "really, really effective" for increasing the chance that researchers will cite the work, says Misha Teplitskiy, an information scientist at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and co-author of the study, which has not yet been peer reviewed.
Teplitskiy and colleagues used data and an app to deduce which talks users attended at 25 computer science conferences held between 2013 and 2020. The authors assessed the works cited by those conference attendees within two years of the meeting. The authors found that meeting attendees cited liked papers 52% more often when they could see them in person than when they couldn't.
The analysis also found a similar benefit for citations of non-liked papers, an effect that the authors call serendipitous diffusion of information. Serendipitous diffusion accounted for nearly 22% of the overall dissemination of information brought about by presentations at the conferences.
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