Scholars on Twitter: who and how many are they?

Authors :  Rodrigo Costas, Jeroen van Honk, Thomas Franssen

In this paper we present a novel methodology for identifying scholars with a Twitter account. By combining bibliometric data from Web of Science and Twitter users identified by Altmetric.com we have obtained the largest set of individual scholars matched with Twitter users made so far.

Our methodology consists of a combination of matching algorithms, considering different linguistic elements of both author names and Twitter names; followed by a rule-based scoring system that weights the common occurrence of several elements related with the names, individual elements and activities of both Twitter users and scholars matched.

Our results indicate that about 2% of the overall population of scholars in the Web of Science is active on Twitter. By domain we find a strong presence of researchers from the Social Sciences and the Humanities. Natural Sciences is the domain with the lowest level of scholars on Twitter.

Researchers on Twitter also tend to be younger than those that are not on Twitter. As this is a bibliometric-based approach, it is important to highlight the reliance of the method on the number of publications produced and tweeted by the scholars, thus the share of scholars on Twitter ranges between 1% and 5% depending on their level of productivity. Further research is suggested in order to improve and expand the methodology.

URL : https://arxiv.org/abs/1712.05667

The unbearable emptiness of tweeting — About journal articles

Authors : Nicolas Robinson-Garcia, Rodrigo Costas, Kimberley Isett, Julia Melkers, Diana Hicks

Enthusiasm for using Twitter as a source of data in the social sciences extends to measuring the impact of research with Twitter data being a key component in the new altmetrics approach. In this paper, we examine tweets containing links to research articles in the field of dentistry to assess the extent to which tweeting about scientific papers signifies engagement with, attention to, or consumption of scientific literature.

The main goal is to better comprehend the role Twitter plays in scholarly communication and the potential value of tweet counts as traces of broader engagement with scientific literature. In particular, the pattern of tweeting to the top ten most tweeted scientific dental articles and of tweeting by accounts is examined.

The ideal that tweeting about scholarly articles represents curating and informing about state-of-the-art appears not to be realized in practice. We see much presumably human tweeting almost entirely mechanical and devoid of original thought, no evidence of conversation, tweets generated by monomania, duplicate tweeting from many accounts under centralized professional management and tweets generated by bots.

Some accounts exemplify the ideal, but they represent less than 10% of tweets. Therefore, any conclusions drawn from twitter data is swamped by the mechanical nature of the bulk of tweeting behavior. In light of these results, we discuss the compatibility of Twitter with the research enterprise as well as some of the financial incentives behind these patterns.

URL : The unbearable emptiness of tweeting — About journal articles

DOI : https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0183551