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.



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

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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

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Tweets Do Measure Non – Citational Intellectual Impact


The aim of the paper is to identify the motive behind the social media indicators in focus to tweets and attempts to identify what is measured or indicated by tweets, based on these motives.


Documents with non zero tweets were manually collected from a source of 5 journals – Nature Biotechnology, Nature Nanotechnology, Nature Physics, Nature Chemistry and Nature Communications for the period January 2014 – October 2014 so as to depict the contemporary trend, as tweets tends to have L shaped curve in time-wise distribution.


Investigations suggest that the motives behind the tweets are research reach, research acceptance and research usage. Further analysis revealed that the motive behind self – tweets are research visibility, which is one of the attributes of social media and therefore self tweets may not be a complex problem as expected seeing that documents are self tweeted not more than once in most cases.

Furthermore, identifying and classifying tweets based on users – Publishers, Frequent tweeters who apparently tweet all documents of an issue and Authors will increase the effectiveness of altmetrics in research evaluation. It was also found that association between subjects can be identified by the analysis of tweets pattern among subjects.


Study proposes an overall hierarchical structure of impact based on the change/advancement instigated. The study confirms that tweets do measure non – academic intellectual impact that is not captured by traditional metrics.


Are there birds in the library? The extent of Twitter adoption and use by Canadian academic libraries

« Twitter, only eight years old, has emerged as an ever-present component of our everyday, online lives. This phenomenon is apparent in academic libraries as well, with a growing body of published reports on how libraries use Twitter, and other social networking tools, to engage with users. The extent of this adoption by libraries, however, is assumed rather than known, leading to the question: is it really a phenomenon? How many academic libraries are actually currently tweeting? In this paper, we report an investigation of Twitter adoption by Canadian academic libraries. We found that less than half of the main libraries currently tweet, with adoption peaking in 2009. While tweeting is not as ubiquitous as may be assumed and recent adoption has declined, findings do show that tweeting remains consistent and active for those libraries with established Twitter accounts. »


Transformation of Science Communication in the Age of Social Media

The aim of the present article is to discuss several consequences of the Open Science from a perspective of science communication and philosophy of communication. Apart from the purely communicative and philosophical issues, the paper deals with the questions that concern the science populariza- tion process through social media (especially Twitter and blogs).

The article consists of three sections: the first one suggests a definition of science communication and social media, the second examines the transformation of science in the Age of the Internet and considers the influence of social media on science communication, the third and final one presents some case studies and philosophical observations.

The most important conclusion to be reached here is that the social media have changed science and science communication. Twitter and blogs as novelty tools of science communication can be useful and meaningful for both science and society. Furthermore, social media can be used to facilitate broader involvement of citizens in the discussion about science.


Tweets & science

Le temps passé sur les réseaux sociaux augmente régulièrement (en 2012, 18% du temps online). Si le temps moyen des visites sur Twitter est encore faible (21min/mois) au regard de facebook (6, 75h/mois) ou plus généralement du web, il faut observer une croissance de l’ordre de 300% de l’usage de Twitter et des pratiques croisées de plus en plus fréquentes avec des médias plus anciens comme la télévision.

Avec ces pratiques  » généralistes « , des pratiques professionnelles se dessinent…. C’est dans ce cadre des pratiques croisées généralistes et professionnelles que nous observons l’usage de Twitter dans le contexte de la publication scientifique.