What do computer scientists tweet? Analyzing the link-sharing practice on Twitter

Authors : Marco Schmitt, Robert Jäschke

Twitter communication has permeated every sphere of society. To highlight and share small pieces of information with possibly vast audiences or small circles of the interested has some value in almost any aspect of social life.

But what is the value exactly for a scientific field? We perform a comprehensive study of computer scientists using Twitter and their tweeting behavior concerning the sharing of web links.

Discerning the domains, hosts and individual web pages being tweeted and the differences between computer scientists and a Twitter sample enables us to look in depth at the Twitter-based information sharing practices of a scientific community.

Additionally, we aim at providing a deeper understanding of the role and impact of altmetrics in computer science and give a glance at the publications mentioned on Twitter that are most relevant for the computer science community.

Our results show a link sharing culture that concentrates more heavily on public and professional quality information than the Twitter sample does. The results also show a broad variety in linked sources and especially in linked publications with some publications clearly related to community-specific interests of computer scientists, while others with a strong relation to attention mechanisms in social media.

This refers to the observation that Twitter is a hybrid form of social media between an information service and a social network service.

Overall the computer scientists’ style of usage seems to be more on the information-oriented side and to some degree also on professional usage. Therefore, altmetrics are of considerable use in analyzing computer science.

URL : What do computer scientists tweet? Analyzing the link-sharing practice on Twitter

DOI : https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0179630

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

Towards an Ethical Framework for Publishing Twitter Data in Social Research: Taking into Account Users’ Views, Online Context and Algorithmic Estimation

Authors : Matthew L Williams, Pete Burnap, Luke Sloan

New and emerging forms of data, including posts harvested from social media sites such as Twitter, have become part of the sociologist’s data diet. In particular, some researchers see an advantage in the perceived ‘public’ nature of Twitter posts, representing them in publications without seeking informed consent.

While such practice may not be at odds with Twitter’s terms of service, we argue there is a need to interpret these through the lens of social science research methods that imply a more reflexive ethical approach than provided in ‘legal’ accounts of the permissible use of these data in research publications.

To challenge some existing practice in Twitter-based research, this article brings to the fore: (1) views of Twitter users through analysis of online survey data; (2) the effect of context collapse and online disinhibition on the behaviours of users; and (3) the publication of identifiable sensitive classifications derived from algorithms.

URL : Towards an Ethical Framework for Publishing Twitter Data in Social Research: Taking into Account Users’ Views, Online Context and Algorithmic Estimation

DOI : http://dx.doi.org/10.1177%2F0038038517708140

A systematic identification and analysis of scientists on Twitter

Authors : Qing Ke, Yong-Yeol Ahn, Cassidy R. Sugimoto

Metrics derived from Twitter and other social media—often referred to as altmetrics—are increasingly used to estimate the broader social impacts of scholarship. Such efforts, however, may produce highly misleading results, as the entities that participate in conversations about science on these platforms are largely unknown.

For instance, if altmetric activities are generated mainly by scientists, does it really capture broader social impacts of science? Here we present a systematic approach to identifying and analyzing scientists on Twitter.

Our method can identify scientists across many disciplines, without relying on external bibliographic data, and be easily adapted to identify other stakeholder groups in science.

We investigate the demographics, sharing behaviors, and interconnectivity of the identified scientists.

We find that Twitter has been employed by scholars across the disciplinary spectrum, with an over-representation of social and computer and information scientists; under-representation of mathematical, physical, and life scientists; and a better representation of women compared to scholarly publishing.

Analysis of the sharing of URLs reveals a distinct imprint of scholarly sites, yet only a small fraction of shared URLs are science-related. We find an assortative mixing with respect to disciplines in the networks between scientists, suggesting the maintenance of disciplinary walls in social media.

Our work contributes to the literature both methodologically and conceptually—we provide new methods for disambiguating and identifying particular actors on social media and describing the behaviors of scientists, thus providing foundational information for the construction and use of indicators on the basis of social media metrics.

 URL : A systematic identification and analysis of scientists on Twitter

DOI : https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0175368

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.

URL : http://ir.lib.uwo.ca/fimspub/71/


Revisiting an open access monograph experiment: measuring citations and tweets 5 years later

Author : Ronald Snijder

An experiment run in 2009 could not assess whether making monographs available in open access enhanced scholarly impact. This paper revisits the experiment, drawing on additional citation data and tweets. It attempts to answer the following research question: does open access have a positive influence on the number of citations and tweets a monograph receives, taking into account the influence of scholarly field and language?

The correlation between monograph citations and tweets is also investigated. The number of citations and tweets measured in 2014 reveal a slight open access advantage, but the influence of language or subject should also be taken into account. However, Twitter usage and citation behaviour hardly overlap.

URL : Revisiting an open access monograph experiment

Alternative location : https://rd.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11192-016-2160-6

Twittering About Research: A Case Study of the World’s First Twitter Poster Competition

Authors : Edward P. Randviir, Samuel M. Illingworth, Matthew J. Baker, Matthew Cude, Craig E. Banks

The Royal Society of Chemistry held, to our knowledge, the world’s first Twitter conference at 9am on February 5 th, 2015. The conference was a Twitter-only conference, allowing researchers to upload academic posters as tweets, replacing a physical meeting.

This paper reports the details of the event and discusses the outcomes, such as the potential for the use of social media to enhance scientific communication at conferences. In particular, the present work argues that social media outlets such as Twitter broaden audiences, speed up communication, and force clearer and more concise descriptions of a researcher’s work.

The benefits of poster presentations are also discussed in terms of potential knowledge exchange and networking.

This paper serves as a proof-of-concept approach for improving both the public opinion of the poster, and the enhancement of the poster through an innovative online format that some may feel more comfortable with, compared to face-to-face communication.

URL : Twittering About Research: A Case Study of the World’s First Twitter Poster Competition

Alternative location : http://f1000research.com/articles/4-798/v3