Scientific discourse on YouTube: Motivations for citing research in comments

Authors : Sören Striewski, Olga Zagovora, Isabella Peters

YouTube is a valuable source of user-generated content on a wide range of topics, and it encourages user participation through the use of a comment system. Video content is increasingly addressing scientific topics, and there is evidence that both academics and consumers use video descriptions and video comments to refer to academic research and scientific publications.

Because commenting is a discursive behavior, this study will provide insights on why individuals post links to research publications in comments. For this, a qualitative content analysis and iterative coding approach were applied. Furthermore, the reasons for mentioning academic publications in comments were contrasted with the reasons for citing in scholarly works and with reasons for commenting on YouTube.

We discovered that the primary motives for sharing research links were (1) providing more insights into the topic and (2) challenging information offered by other commentators.

Arxiv :

Between Flat-Earthers and Fitness Coaches: Who is Citing Scientific Publications in YouTube Video Descriptions?

Authors : Olga Zagovora, Katrin Weller

In this study, we undertake an extensive analysis of YouTube channels that reference research publications in their video descriptions, offering a unique insight into the intersection of digital media and academia. Our investigation focuses on three principal aspects: the background of YouTube channel owners, their thematic focus, and the nature of their operational dynamics, specifically addressing whether they work individually or in groups. Our results highlight a strong emphasis on content related to science and engineering, as well as health, particularly in channels managed by individual researchers and academic institutions.

However, there is a notable variation in the popularity of these channels, with professional YouTubers and commercial media entities often outperforming in terms of viewer engagement metrics like likes, comments, and views. This underscores the challenge academic channels face in attracting a wider audience. Further, we explore the role of academic actors on YouTube, scrutinizing their impact in disseminating research and the types of publications they reference.

Despite a general inclination towards professional academic topics, these channels displayed a varied effectiveness in spotlighting highly cited research. Often, they referenced a wide array of publications, indicating a diverse but not necessarily impact-focused approach to content selection.

Arxiv :

Quantifying and contextualizing the impact of bioRxiv preprints through automated social media audience segmentation

Authors : Jedidiah Carlson, Kelley Harris

Engagement with scientific manuscripts is frequently facilitated by Twitter and other social media platforms. As such, the demographics of a paper’s social media audience provide a wealth of information about how scholarly research is transmitted, consumed, and interpreted by online communities.

By paying attention to public perceptions of their publications, scientists can learn whether their research is stimulating positive scholarly and public thought. They can also become aware of potentially negative patterns of interest from groups that misinterpret their work in harmful ways, either willfully or unintentionally, and devise strategies for altering their messaging to mitigate these impacts.

In this study, we collected 331,696 Twitter posts referencing 1,800 highly tweeted bioRxiv preprints and leveraged topic modeling to infer the characteristics of various communities engaging with each preprint on Twitter.

We agnostically learned the characteristics of these audience sectors from keywords each user’s followers provide in their Twitter biographies. We estimate that 96% of the preprints analyzed are dominated by academic audiences on Twitter, suggesting that social media attention does not always correspond to greater public exposure.

We further demonstrate how our audience segmentation method can quantify the level of interest from nonspecialist audience sectors such as mental health advocates, dog lovers, video game developers, vegans, bitcoin investors, conspiracy theorists, journalists, religious groups, and political constituencies.

Surprisingly, we also found that 10% of the preprints analyzed have sizable (>5%) audience sectors that are associated with right-wing white nationalist communities. Although none of these preprints appear to intentionally espouse any right-wing extremist messages, cases exist in which extremist appropriation comprises more than 50% of the tweets referencing a given preprint.

These results present unique opportunities for improving and contextualizing the public discourse surrounding scientific research.

URL : Quantifying and contextualizing the impact of bioRxiv preprints through automated social media audience segmentation


Social media metrics for new research evaluation

Authors : Paul Wouters, Zohreh Zahedi, Rodrigo Costas

This chapter approaches, both from a theoretical and practical perspective, the most important principles and conceptual frameworks that can be considered in the application of social media metrics for scientific evaluation.

We propose conceptually valid uses for social media metrics in research evaluation. The chapter discusses frameworks and uses of these metrics as well as principles and recommendations for the consideration and application of current (and potentially new) metrics in research evaluation.

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