Who Are Tweeting About Academic Publications? A Cochrane Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Altmetric Studies

Authors : Ashraf Maleki, Kim Holmberg

Previous studies have developed different categorizations of Twitter users who interact with scientific publications online, reflecting the difficulty in creating a unified approach. Using Cochrane Review meta-analysis to analyse earlier research (including 79,014 Twitter users, over twenty million tweets, and over five million tweeted publications from 23 studies), we created a consolidated robust categorization consisting of 11 user categories, at different dimensions, covering most of any future needs for user categorizations on Twitter and possibly also other social media platforms.

Our findings showed, with moderate certainty, covering all the earlier different approaches employed, that the predominant Twitter group was individual users (66%), responsible for the majority of tweets (55%) and tweeted publications (50%), while organizations (22%, 27%, and 28%, respectively) and science communicators (16%, 13%, and 30%) clearly contributed smaller proportions.

The cumulative findings from prior investigations indicated a statistically equal extent of academic individuals (33%) and other individuals (28%). While academic individuals shared more academic publications than other individuals (42% vs. 31%), they posted fewer tweets overall (22% vs. 30%), but these differences do not reach statistical significance.

Despite significant heterogeneity arising from variations in categorization methods, the findings consistently indicate the importance of academics in disseminating academic publications.

URL : https://arxiv.org/abs/2312.06399

Interdisciplinary Analysis of Science Communication on Social Media during the COVID-19 Crisis

Authors : Thomas Mandl, Sylvia Jaki, Hannah Mitera, Franziska Schmidt

In times of crisis, science communication needs to be accessible and convincing. In order to understand whether these two criteria apply to concrete science communication formats, it is not enough to merely study the communication product. Instead, the recipient’s perspective also needs to be taken into account.

What do recipients value in popular science communication formats concerning COVID-19? What do they criticize? What elements in the formats do they pay attention to? These questions can be answered by reception studies, for example, by analyzing the reactions and comments of social media users.

This is particularly relevant since scientific information was increasingly disseminated over social media channels during the COVID-19 crisis. This interdisciplinary study, therefore, focuses both on science communication strategies in media formats and the related comments on social media.

First, we selected science communication channels on YouTube and performed a qualitative multi-modal analysis. Second, the comments responding to science communication content online were analyzed by identifying Twitter users who are doctors, researchers, science communicators and those who represent research institutes and then, subsequently, performing topic modeling on the textual data.

The main goal was to find topics that directly related to science communication strategies. The qualitative video analysis revealed, for example, a range of strategies for accessible communication and maintaining transparency about scientific insecurities.

The quantitative Twitter analysis showed that few tweets commented on aspects of the communication strategies. These were mainly positive while the sentiment in the overall collection was less positive.

We downloaded and processed replies for 20 months, starting at the beginning of the pandemic, which resulted in a collection of approximately one million tweets from the German science communication market.

URL : Interdisciplinary Analysis of Science Communication on Social Media during the COVID-19 Crisis

DOI : https://doi.org/10.3390/knowledge3010008

The Twitter accounts of scientific journals: a dataset

Author : Andreas Nishikawa-Pacher

Twitter harbours dense networks of academics, but to what extent do scientific journals use that platform? This article introduces a dataset of 3,485 Twitter accounts pertaining to a sample of 13,821 journals listed in Web of Science’s three major indices (SCIE, SSCI and AHCI).

The summary statistics indicate that 25.2% of the journals have a dedicated Twitter presence. This number is likely to grow, as, on average, every one and a half days sees yet another journal setting up a new profile. The share of Twitter presence, however, varies strongly by publisher and discipline.

The most active discipline is political science, which has almost 75% of its journals on Twitter, while other research categories have zero. The median account issues 116 messages a year and it interacts with distinct other users once in two to three Tweets. Approximately 600 journals refer to themselves as ‘peer-reviewed’, while 263 journals refer to their citation-based impact (like the impact factor) in their profile description.

All in all, the data convey immense heterogeneity with respect to the Twitter behaviour of scientific journals. As there are numerous deceptive Twitter profile names established by predatory publishers, it is recommended that journals establish their official accounts lest bogus journals mislead the public about scientific findings. The dataset is available for use for further scientometric analyses.

URL : The Twitter accounts of scientific journals: a dataset

DOI : http://doi.org/10.1629/uksg.593

Whose research benefits more from Twitter? On Twitter-worthiness of communication research and its role in reinforcing disparities of the field

Authors : Chung-hong Chan, Jing Zeng, Mike S. Schäfer

Twitter has become an important promotional tool for scholarly work, but individual academic publications have varied degrees of visibility on the platform. We explain this variation through the concept of Twitter-worthiness: factors making certain academic publications more likely to be visible on Twitter.

Using publications from communication studies as our analytical case, we conduct statistical analyses of 32187 articles spanning 82 journals. Findings show that publications from G12 countries, covering social media topics and published open access tend to be mentioned more on Twitter.

Similar to prior studies, this study demonstrates that Twitter mentions are associated with peer citations. Nevertheless, Twitter also has the potential to reinforce pre-existing disparities between communication research communities, especially between researchers from developed and less-developed regions. Open access, however, does not reinforce such disparities.

URL : Whose research benefits more from Twitter? On Twitter-worthiness of communication research and its role in reinforcing disparities of the field

DOI : https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0278840

Are patents linked on Twitter? A case study of Google patents

Authors : Enrique Orduña‑Malea, Cristina I. Font‑Julián

This study attempts to analyze patents as cited/mentioned documents to better understand the interest, dissemination and engagement of these documents in social environments, laying the foundations for social media studies of patents (social Patentometrics).

Particularly, this study aims to determine how patents are disseminated on Twitter by analyzing three elements: tweets linking to patents, users linking to patents, and patents linked from Twitter.

To do this, all the tweets containing at least one link to a full-text patent available on Google Patents were collected and analyzed, yielding a total of 126,815 tweets (and 129,001 links) to 86,417 patents. The results evidence an increase of the number of linking tweets over the years, presumably due to the creation of a standardized patent URL ID and the integration of Google Patents and Google Scholar, which took place in 2015.

The engagement achieved by these tweets is limited (80.2% of tweets did not attract likes) but increasing notably since 2018. Two super-publisher twitter bot accounts (dailypatent and uspatentbot) are responsible of 53.3% of all the linking tweets, while most accounts are sporadic users linking to patent as part of a conversation.

The patents most tweeted are, by far, from United States (87.5% of all links to Google Patents), mainly due to the effect of the two super-publishers. The impact of patents in terms of the number of tweets linking to them is unrelated to their year of publication, status or number of patent citations received, while controversial and media topics might be more determinant factors.

However, further research is needed to better understand the topics discussed around patents on Twitter, the users involved, and the metrics attained. Given the increasing number of linking users and linked patents, this study finds Twitter as a relevant source to measure patent-level metrics, shedding light on the impact and interest of patents by the broad public.

URL : Are patents linked on Twitter? A case study of Google patents

DOI : https://doi.org/10.1007/s11192-022-04519-y

The Use of Twitter by Medical Journals: Systematic Review of the Literature

Authors : Natalie Erskine, Sharief Hendricks


Medical journals use Twitter to engage and disseminate their research articles and implement a range of strategies to maximize reach and impact.


This study aims to systematically review the literature to synthesize and describe the different Twitter strategies used by medical journals and their effectiveness on journal impact and readership metrics.


A systematic search of the literature before February 2020 in four electronic databases (PubMed, Web of Science, Scopus, and ScienceDirect) was conducted. Articles were reviewed using the PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses) guidelines.


The search identified 44 original research studies that evaluated Twitter strategies implemented by medical journals and analyzed the relationship between Twitter metrics and alternative and citation-based metrics. The key findings suggest that promoting publications on Twitter improves citation-based and alternative metrics for academic medical journals.

Moreover, implementing different Twitter strategies maximizes the amount of attention that publications and journals receive. The four key Twitter strategies implemented by many medical journals are tweeting the title and link of the article, infographics, podcasts, and hosting monthly internet-based journal clubs. Each strategy was successful in promoting the publications. However, different metrics were used to measure success.


Four key Twitter strategies are implemented by medical journals: tweeting the title and link of the article, infographics, podcasts, and hosting monthly internet-based journal clubs. In this review, each strategy was successful in promoting publications but used different metrics to measure success.

Thus, it is difficult to conclude which strategy is most effective. In addition, the four strategies have different costs and effects on dissemination and readership. We recommend that journals and researchers incorporate a combination of Twitter strategies to maximize research impact and capture audiences with a variety of learning methods.

URL : The Use of Twitter by Medical Journals: Systematic Review of the Literature

DOI : https://doi.org/10.2196/26378

Researchers’ attitudes towards the h-index on Twitter 2007–2020: criticism and acceptance

Authors : Mike Thelwall, Kayvan Kousha

The h-index is an indicator of the scientific impact of an academic publishing career. Its hybrid publishing/citation nature and inherent bias against younger researchers, women, people in low resourced countries, and those not prioritizing publishing arguably give it little value for most formal and informal research evaluations.

Nevertheless, it is well-known by academics, used in some promotion decisions, and is prominent in bibliometric databases, such as Google Scholar. In the context of this apparent conflict, it is important to understand researchers’ attitudes towards the h-index.

This article used public tweets in English to analyse how scholars discuss the h-index in public: is it mentioned, are tweets about it positive or negative, and has interest decreased since its shortcomings were exposed?

The January 2021 Twitter Academic Research initiative was harnessed to download all English tweets mentioning the h-index from the 2006 start of Twitter until the end of 2020. The results showed a constantly increasing number of tweets.

Whilst the most popular tweets unapologetically used the h-index as an indicator of research performance, 28.5% of tweets were critical of its simplistic nature and others joked about it (8%). The results suggest that interest in the h-index is still increasing online despite scientists willing to evaluate the h-index in public tending to be critical.

Nevertheless, in limited situations it may be effective at succinctly conveying the message that a researcher has had a successful publishing career.

DOI : https://doi.org/10.1007/s11192-021-03961-8