How is science clicked on Twitter? Click metrics for Bitly short links to scientific publications

Authors : Zhichao Fang, Rodrigo Costas, Wencan Tian, Xianwen Wang, Paul Wouters

To provide some context for the potential engagement behavior of Twitter users around science, this article investigates how Bitly short links to scientific publications embedded in scholarly Twitter mentions are clicked on Twitter.

Based on the click metrics of over 1.1 million Bitly short links referring to Web of Science (WoS) publications, our results show that around 49.5% of them were not clicked by Twitter users. For those Bitly short links with clicks from Twitter, the majority of their Twitter clicks accumulated within a short period of time after they were first tweeted.

Bitly short links to the publications in the field of Social Sciences and Humanities tend to attract more clicks from Twitter over other subject fields. This article also assesses the extent to which Twitter clicks are correlated with some other impact indicators.

Twitter clicks are weakly correlated with scholarly impact indicators (WoS citations and Mendeley readers), but moderately correlated to other Twitter engagement indicators (total retweets and total likes).

In light of these results, we highlight the importance of paying more attention to the click metrics of URLs in scholarly Twitter mentions, to improve our understanding about the more effective dissemination and reception of science information on Twitter.

URL : How is science clicked on Twitter? Click metrics for Bitly short links to scientific publications


“Participant” Perceptions of Twitter Research Ethics

Authors : Casey Fiesler, Nicholas Proferes

Social computing systems such as Twitter present new research sites that have provided billions of data points to researchers. However, the availability of public social media data has also presented ethical challenges.

As the research community works to create ethical norms, we should be considering users’ concerns as well. With this in mind, we report on an exploratory survey of Twitter users’ perceptions of the use of tweets in research.

Within our survey sample, few users were previously aware that their public tweets could be used by researchers, and the majority felt that researchers should not be able to use tweets without consent.

However, we find that these attitudes are highly contextual, depending on factors such as how the research is conducted or disseminated, who is conducting it, and what the study is about. The findings of this study point to potential best practices for researchers conducting observation and analysis of public data.

URL : “Participant” Perceptions of Twitter Research Ethics


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


Using social media to promote academic research: Identifying the benefits of twitter for sharing academic work

Authors : Samara Klar, Yanna Krupnikov, John Barry Ryan, Kathleen Searles, Yotam Shmargad

To disseminate research, scholars once relied on university media services or journal press releases, but today any academic can turn to Twitter to share their published work with a broader audience.

The possibility that scholars can push their research out, rather than hope that it is pulled in, holds the potential for scholars to draw wide attention to their research. In this manuscript, we examine whether there are systematic differences in the types of scholars who most benefit from this push model.

Specifically, we investigate the extent to which there are gender differences in the dissemination of research via Twitter.

We carry out our analyses by tracking tweet patterns for articles published in six journals across two fields (political science and communication), and we pair this Twitter data with demographic and educational data about the authors of the published articles, as well as article citation rates.

We find considerable evidence that, overall, article citations are positively correlated with tweets about the article, and we find little evidence to suggest that author gender affects the transmission of research in this new media.

URL : Using social media to promote academic research: Identifying the benefits of twitter for sharing academic work


The stability of Twitter metrics: A study on unavailable Twitter mentions of scientific publications

Authors : Zhichao Fang, Jonathan Dudek, Rodrigo Costas

This paper investigates the stability of Twitter counts of scientific publications over time. For this, we conducted an analysis of the availability statuses of over 2.6 million Twitter mentions received by the 1,154 most tweeted scientific publications recorded by this http URL up to October 2017.

Results show that of the Twitter mentions for these highly tweeted publications, about 14.3% have become unavailable by April 2019. Deletion of tweets by users is the main reason for unavailability, followed by suspension and protection of Twitter user accounts.

This study proposes two measures for describing the Twitter dissemination structures of publications: Degree of Originality (i.e., the proportion of original tweets received by a paper) and Degree of Concentration (i.e., the degree to which retweets concentrate on a single original tweet).

Twitter metrics of publications with relatively low Degree of Originality and relatively high Degree of Concentration are observed to be at greater risk of becoming unstable due to the potential disappearance of their Twitter mentions.

In light of these results, we emphasize the importance of paying attention to the potential risk of unstable Twitter counts, and the significance of identifying the different Twitter dissemination structures when studying the Twitter metrics of scientific publications.


Echoes des publications scientifiques en SHS sur les réseaux sociaux. Le cas des contenus d’Open Édition sur Twitter.

Auteurs/Authors : Lucie Loubère, Fidelia Ibekwe-Sanjuan

Les réseaux sociaux en se diffusant sur l’intégralité de la société sont également entrés dans le monde de la recherche. Ces outils accélèrent la circulation de l’information, et pourraient atteindre une audience différente du circuit universitaire.

Parallèlement les plateformes de savoir ouvert se développent et rendent accessible à tout le monde le savoir scientifique. Notre étude se focalise sur l’étude des tweets émis entre 2013 et 2017 pointant vers un contenu d’OpenEdition. Nous avons analysé les réseaux de retweets ainsi que les contenus textuels des tweets par étude lexicométrique.

Les résultats tendent à montrer une conservation des pratiques institutionnelles avec un cloisonnement linguistique et disciplinaire tant dans les pratiques de retweets que dans les contenus textuels.


Scholars’ temporal participation on, temporary disengagement from, and return to Twitter

Authors : George Veletsianos, Royce Kimmons, Olga Belikov, Nicole Johnson

Even though the extant literature investigates how and why academics use social media, much less is known about academics’ temporal patterns of social media use.

This mixed methods study provides a first-of-its-kind investigation into temporal social media use. In particular, we study how academics’ use of Twitter varies over time and examine the reasons why academics temporarily disengage and return to the social media platform.

We employ data mining methods to identify a sample of academics on Twitter (n = 3,996) and retrieve the tweets they posted (n = 9,025,127). We analyze quantitative data using descriptive and inferential statistics, and qualitative data using the constant comparative approach.

Results show that Twitter use is predominantly connected to traditional work hours and is well-integrated into academics’ professional endeavors, suggesting that professional use of Twitter has become “ordinary.”

Though scholars rarely announce their departure from or return to Twitter, approximately half of this study’s participants took some kind of a break from Twitter.

Although users returned to Twitter for both professional and personal reasons, conferences and workshops were found to be significant events stimulating the return of academic users.