Most talked about articles of 2020

18 December 2020 by April Nagy

Here are the books and papers that started the most conversations online during the year. Have you read them all?

Did you know
 Altmetric counts our content mentions in news articles, on social media and more? We have used it, and its doughnuts, to take a look at the hot topics fuelling discussions in 2020 (apart from Covid-19).  

Most mentioned in 2020

Cycling infrastructure in London
Altmetric score: 72 

Published in 2016, this paper, first published in Engineering Sustainability, has once again created a buzz in the cycling community. It had received 120 Tweets from 90 users alone! You can follow our Twitter account for updates.

As more people turned to walking and cycling during lockdowns, this wasn’t the only content on cycling that got the discussions going:


Second most mentioned in 2020

Obituary. Isambard Kingdom Brunel, (Vice President), 1806-1859
Altmetric score: 71 

Isambard Kingdom Brunel was a famous English civil engineer “in love with the impossible”. He left a tremendous legacy in the United Kingdom during the industrial revolution, so we aren’t surprised that his Obituary, published in 1860 in Minutes of the Proceedings is still topical today, especially around 9 April, his birthday! It is one of the top 5% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric.

Other engineers well read in 2020:

Third most mentioned in 2020

Validation of a new model for railway overhead line dynamics
Altmetric score: 62 

The third runner-up, but one that has performed best in the news outlets (that’s signified by the by the colour red) is a paper on another mode of transport — railways. It was first mentioned in an article on The Conversation, Five innovations that could shape the future of rail travel, which was then re-published by Big News Network, Engineers Ireland, Foreign Affairs and others.

More talked about railway papers in 2020:


Most talked about book of 2020

Energy and Mobility in Smart Cities
Altmetric score: 54 

Movement in cities, especially in smart cities, fascinated you in 2020. Audiences from far and wide have joined in, including people from United Kingdom, Canada, United States, Japan and Finland. The book addresses the future of cities, with a focus on energy and mobility within them. The chapter on Autonomous vehicles and the urban mobility ecosystem received an Altmetric score of 41 by itself! Not only you can buy the book as an eBook but you can also pick-up a print copy.

Transport overall was a popular subject:       

Most mentioned of all time

Isotropic yielding in an artificially cemented soil cured under stress
Altmetric score: 104

The paper remains our most talked about. Published in June 2013, this highly-cited Géotechnique article by Rotta et al has been referenced in 11 patents and has a strong readership on Mendeley.

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