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 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.