Networked Scholarship and Motivations for Social Media use in Scholarly Communication

Authors : Stefania Manca, Maria Ranieri

Research on scholars’ use of social media suggests that these sites are increasingly being used to enhance scholarly communication by strengthening relationships, facilitating collaboration among peers, publishing and sharing research products, and discussing research topics in open and public formats.

However, very few studies have investigated perceptions and attitudes towards social media use for scholarly communication of large cohorts of scholars at national level.

This study investigates the reasons for using social media sites for scholarly communication among a large sample of Italian university scholars (N=6139) with the aim of analysing what factors mainly affect these attitudes.

The motivations for using social media were analysed in connection with frequency of use and factors like gender, age, years of teaching, academic title, and disciplinary field. The results point out that for the most used tools the influence of the variables examined was higher in shaping scholars’ motivations.

In fact, frequency of use, age, years of teaching, and disciplinary field were found to be relevant factors especially for LinkedIn and, while gender and academic title seemed to have a limited impact on scholars’ motivations for all social media sites considered in the study.

Considerations for future research are provided along with limitations of the study.

URL : Networked Scholarship and Motivations for Social Media use in Scholarly Communication


Neither digital or open Just researchers Views on…

Neither digital or open. Just researchers: Views on digital/open scholarship practices in an Italian university :

« How do university researchers consider attributes such as ‘digital’ and ‘open’ as regards to their research practices? This article reports a small–scale interview project carried out at the University of Milan, aiming to probe whether and to what extent actual digital research practices are affecting cultures of sharing in different subject areas and are prompting emergent approaches such as open publishing, open data, open education and open boundary between academia and society. Most of the 14 interviewed researchers seem not to see any clear benefit to move to further technological means or new open practices and call for institutional support and rules. However, a few profiles of ‘digital, networked and open’ researchers stand out and show both a self–legitimating approach to new modes of knowledge production and distribution and a particular sensitiveness towards values and perspectives driven by ‘openness’ in digital networks. »


Collaboratory Digital Libraries for Humanities in the Italian…

Collaboratory Digital Libraries for Humanities in the Italian context :

« The study investigates the approach to collaboration in Humanities, within the Italian context, to test the possibility of collaborative digital library for scholars. The research hypothesis is that collaboration can foster innovation and scienti c development: therefore, within Humanities, digital libraries can be the collaborative laboratory for research. Thus, understanding perception of scholars towards collaboration, especially online, and comprehending if wiki systems could be the framework of collaboration were the objectives of the study. A qualitative approach has been adopted, using case study as research method: in-depth, semi-structured interviews to Digital Humanities scholars provide data integrated with interviews with two key informants (one of which is prof. Umberto Eco). The results of the study show that Humanities, within Italian context, do appreciate collaboration and the concept of a collaboratory digital library, though several issues need to be solved. In fact, Humanities are still tied with individual work and collaboration is not easy to pursue, for cultural, technical and political reasons. Great e ort needs to be done at many different levels to eliminate obstacles and facilitate online collaboration for scholars. The study provides a draft model for a collaborative digital library arisen from gathered data. »


Science, institutional archives and open access: an overview and a pilot survey on the Italian cancer research institutions


The Open Archive Initiative (OAI) refers to a movement started around the ’90s to guarantee free access to scientific information by removing the barriers to research results, especially those related to the ever increasing journal subscription prices.

This new paradigm has reshaped the scholarly communication system and is closely connected to the build up of institutional repositories (IRs) conceived to the benefit of scientists and research bodies as a means to keep possession of their own literary production.

The IRs are high-value tools which permit authors to gain visibility by enabling rapid access to scientific material (not only publications) thus increasing impact (citation rate) and permitting a multidimensional assessment of research findings. »


A survey was conducted in March 2010 to mainly explore the managing system in use for archiving the research finding adopted by the Italian Scientific Institutes for Research, Hospitalization and Health Care (IRCCS) of the oncology area within the Italian National Health Service.

They were asked to respond to a questionnaire intended to collect data about institutional archives, metadata formats and posting of full-text documents. The enquire concerned also the perceived role of the institutional repository DSpace ISS, built up by the Istituto Superiore di Sanita (Italian National Institute of Health, ISS), based on a XML scheme for encoding metadata.

Such a repository aims at acting as a unique reference point for the biomedical information produced by the Italian research institutions. An in-depth analysis has also been performed on the collection of information material addressed to patients produced by the institutions surveyed.


The survey respondents were 6 out of 9. The results reveal the use of different practices and standard among the institutions concerning: the type of documentation collected, the software adopted, the use and format of metadata and the conditions of accessibility to the IRs.


The Italian research institutions in the field of oncology are moving the first steps towards the philosophy of OA. The main effort should be the implementation of common procedures also in order to connect scientific publications to researchers curricula.

In this framework, an important effort is represented by the project of ISS aimed to set a common interface able to allow migration of data from partner institutions to the OA compliant repository DSpace ISS.


Library automation and Open source softw…

Library automation and Open source software in Italy: an overview :

« Library automation in Italy started in 60s in order to computerize the managing process in specialized documentation centres. Between the late 60s and the early 70s library automation started within the two National Libraries (Florence, and Rome) too. During the 80s the National Library Service (SBN) was taking shape, but the process would finish ten years later only. From that time, the world of library automation in Italy is divided into those who joined SBN and those not, with rebounds on the software market. The analysis is focused on the scarce diffusion of open source ILS, although in the history of Italian library automation can be found both products without commercial distributors, and attempts to create native OS products or to release source code files previously of a file owner. Hypothesis are put forward in order to find the reasons of the lacking development of OS ILS advance. The results are compared with figures on other European countries. »