Networks of digital humanities scholars: The informational and social uses and gratifications of Twitter

Authors : Anabel Quan-Haase, Kim Martin, Lori McCay-Peet

Big Data research is currently split on whether and to what extent Twitter can be characterized as an informational or social network. We contribute to this line of inquiry through an investigation of digital humanities (DH) scholars’ uses and gratifications of Twitter.

We conducted a thematic analysis of 25 semi-structured interview transcripts to learn about these scholars’ professional use of Twitter.

Our findings show that Twitter is considered a critical tool for informal communication within DH invisible colleges, functioning at varying levels as both an information network (learning to ‘Twitter’ and maintaining awareness) and a social network (imagining audiences and engaging other digital humanists).

We find that Twitter follow relationships reflect common academic interests and are closely tied to scholars’ pre-existing social ties and conference or event co-attendance. The concept of the invisible college continues to be relevant but requires revisiting.

The invisible college formed on Twitter is messy, consisting of overlapping social contexts (professional, personal and public), scholars with different habits of engagement, and both formal and informal ties.

Our research illustrates the value of using multiple methods to explore the complex questions arising from Big Data studies and points toward future research that could implement Big Data techniques on a small scale, focusing on subtopics or emerging fields, to expose the nature of scholars’ invisible colleges made visible on Twitter.



Drivers and Implications of Scientific Open Access Publishing : Findings from a Pilot OECD International Survey of Scientific Authors

Authors : Brunella Boselli, Fernando Galindo-Rueda

This paper presents the results of a new and experimental study on the research and publishing activities of scientific authors. It also aimed to test the feasibility of an OECD global survey on science with a focus on major emerging policy issues.

This online, email-based pilot survey was based on a stratified random sample of corresponding authors of publications listed in a major global scientific publication index across seven diverse, hand-picked science domains.

The results provide evidence of the extent of journal and repository-based open access, data sharing practices, the link between different forms of open access to research and research impact, and the decoupling of quality assurance and access roles played by journals.

The results point to the importance of considering economic incentives and social norms in developing policy options for open access. The findings also provide new insights on scientist careers, mobility and gender pay bias.


Do Younger Researchers Assess Trustworthiness Differently when Deciding what to Read and Cite and where to Publish?

Authors : David Nicholas, Hamid R. Jamali, Anthony Watkinson, Eti Herman, Carol Tenopir, Rachel Volentine, Suzie Allard, Kenneth Levine

An international survey of over 3600 academic researchers examined how trustworthiness is determined when making decisions on scholarly reading, citing, and publishing in the digital age and whether social media and open access publications are having an impact on judgements.

In general, the study found that traditional scholarly methods and criteria remain important across the board. However, there are significant differences between younger (age 30 & under) and older researchers (over 30).

Thus younger researchers: a) expend less effort to obtain information and more likely to compromise on quality in their selections; b) view open access publishing much more positively as it offers them more choices and helps to establish their reputation more quickly; c) compensate for their lack of experience by relying more heavily on trust markers and proxies, such as impact factors; d) use all the outlets available in order to improve the chances of getting their work published and, in this respect, make the most use of the social media with which they are more familiar.


Changes in the digital scholarly environment and issues of trust: An exploratory, qualitative analysis

Authors : Anthony Watkinson, David Nicholas, Clare Thornley, Eti Herman, Hamid R. Jamali, Rachel Volentine, Suzie Allard, Kenneth Levine, Carol Tenopir

The paper reports on some of the results of a research project into how changes in digital behaviour and services impacts on concepts of trust and authority held by researchers in the sciences and social sciences in the UK and the USA.

Interviews were used in conjunction with a group of focus groups to establish the form and topic of questions put to a larger international sample in an online questionnaire. The results of these 87 interviews were analysed to determine whether or not attitudes have indeed changed in terms of sources of information used, citation behaviour in choosing references, and in dissemination practices.

It was found that there was marked continuity in attitudes though an increased emphasis on personal judgement over established and new metrics. Journals (or books in some disciplines) were more highly respected than other sources and still the vehicle for formal scholarly communication.

The interviews confirmed that though an open access model did not in most cases lead to mistrust of a journal, a substantial number of researchers were worried about the approaches from what are called predatory OA journals. Established researchers did not on the whole use social media in their professional lives but a question about outreach revealed that it was recognised as effective in reaching a wider audience.

There was a remarkable similarity in practice across research attitudes in all the disciplines covered andin both the countries where interviews were held.


How Do Scientists Define Openness? Exploring the Relationship Between Open Science Policies and Research Practice

Authors : Nadine Levin, Sabina Leonelli, Dagmara Weckowska, David Castle, John Dupré

This article documents how biomedical researchers in the United Kingdom understand and enact the idea of “openness.”

This is of particular interest to researchers and science policy worldwide in view of the recent adoption of pioneering policies on Open Science and Open Access by the U.K. government—policies whose impact on and implications for research practice are in need of urgent evaluation, so as to decide on their eventual implementation elsewhere.

This study is based on 22 in-depth interviews with U.K. researchers in systems biology, synthetic biology, and bioinformatics, which were conducted between September 2013 and February 2014.

Through an analysis of the interview transcripts, we identify seven core themes that characterize researchers’ understanding of openness in science and nine factors that shape the practice of openness in research.

Our findings highlight the implications that Open Science policies can have for research processes and outcomes and provide recommendations for enhancing their content, effectiveness, and implementation.

URL : How Do Scientists Define Openness? Exploring the Relationship Between Open Science Policies and Research Practice

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State of the art report on open access publishing of research data in the humanities

Auteurs/Authors : Stefan Buddenbohm, Nathanael Cretin, Elly Dijk, Bertrand Gai e, Maaike De Jong, Jean-Luc Minel, Blandine Nouvel

Publishing research data as open data is not yet common practice for researchers in the arts and humanities, and lags behind other scientific fields, such as the natural sciences. Moreover, even when humanities researchers publish their data in repositories and archives, these data are often hard to find and use by other researchers in the field.

The goal of Work Package 7 of the the HaS (Humanities at Scale) DARIAH project is to develop an open humanities data platform for the humanities. Work in task 7.1 is a joint effort of Data Archiving and Networked Services (DANS), Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) and the University of Göttingen – State and University Library (UGOE-SUB).

This report gives an overview of the various aspects that are connected to open access publishing of research data in the humanities. After the introduction, where we give definitions of key concepts, we describe the research data life cycle.

We present an overview of the different stakeholders involved and we look into advantages and obstacles for researchers to share research data. Furthermore, a description of the European data repositories is given, followed by certification standards of trusted digital data repositories.

The possibility of data citation is important for sharing open data and is also described in this report. We also discuss the standards and use of metadata in the humanities. Finally, we discuss best practice example of open access research data system in the humanities: the French open research data ecosystem.

With this report we provide information and guidance on open access publishing of humanities research data for researchers. The report is the result of a desk study towards the current state of open access research data and the specific challenges for humanities. It will serve as input for Task 7.2., which will deliver a design and sustainability plan for an open humanities data platform, and for Task 7.3, which will deliver this platform.


Chinese Postgraduate Medical Students Researching for Publication

Author : Yongyan Li

The value of including a research component in medical students’ training programs has been widely recognized. Nevertheless, examples of how this may be done are rarely found in the literature.

The case study reported in this short paper aimed to address this gap in the literature by investigating how a group of postgraduate students attached to the Orthopedics Department of a major hospital in China engaged in research for publication.

Fourteen students were interviewed, and their “mission lists” were analyzed to reveal the students’ research profiles, the sources of their research ideas, and their data collection activities.

The study showed that the students pursued more clinical than basic research topics, their research topics often fell under their immediate supervisors’ larger projects, and the students were actively engaged in the gathering of research data on the wards and at the outpatient clinic.

The reported study does not claim generalizability of its findings. More of such reports from various settings in different parts of the world are needed to enhance constructive exchanges and mutual learning.

URL : Chinese Postgraduate Medical Students Researching for Publication