Facebook and Twitter as Infrastructure for Dissemination of Research Papers (and More)

 

A tweet from @Wowter (blogger, information specialist and bibliometrician at the Wageningen UR Library) alerted me to the news of the “Free new #SpringerLink mobile app: Access 2,000+ peer-rev. journals, 49,000 books,127,000 #OA articles.http://ow.ly/8gv9W“.

I installed the app on my iPod Touch and was interested to note that there were just three ways of sending information about the 2,000+ peer-reviewed journals, 49,000 books and 127,000 open access articles: as illustrated the three dissemination tools are email, Facebook and Twitter.

Via @Wowter’s Twitter timeline I also found the news, initially announced by @MFenner, of the “New blog post: CrowdoMeter goes Mobile http://blogs.plos.org/mfenner/2012/01/04/crowdometer-goes-mobile/“.

The blog post describes how “Two weeks ago Euan Adie from altmetric.com and myself launched the website CrowdoMeter, a crowdsourcing project that tries to classify tweets about scholarly articles using the Citation Typing Ontology (CiTO) … This project is far from over, ideally we want 3-5 classifications per tweet or an additional 1,000 classifications“. In order to “make the classifications as simple as possible, and to help further with this we today [4 January 2012] launched a mobile version of CrowdoMeter. Simply browse to http://crowdometer.org with your iPhone or Android phone [and] sign in via your Twitter account“.

I did this and captured the following screenshots:


Initially in this post I intended to highlight how the Springlink app suggests that Facebook and Twitter may be becoming part of the dissemination infrastructure for research papers, especially on mobile devices. However when I read Martin Fenner’s blog post I realised that Twitter, in particular, may have a role to play in the curation of information about research papers and scientific data.

Hmm, I wonder if Twitter will catch on outside this niche area?


Twitter conversation from Topsy: [View]

6 Comments

  1. I presume you have seen the paper “Can Tweets Predict Citations? Metrics of Social Impact Based on Twitter and Correlation with Traditional Metrics of Scientific Impact” in Journal of Medical Internet Research at http://www.jmir.org/2011/4/e123/

    Reply
    • Hi Rod
      Yes, I came across that paper. It was interesting to read the conclusions:

      Tweets can predict highly cited articles within the first 3 days of article publication. Social media activity either increases citations or reflects the underlying qualities of the article that also predict citations, but the true use of these metrics is to measure the distinct concept of social impact. Social impact measures based on tweets are proposed to complement traditional citation metrics. The proposed twimpact factor may be a useful and timely metric to measure uptake of research findings and to filter research findings resonating with the public in real time.

      As I commented on Martin Fenner’s blogI do wonder whether having a Twitter account, in particular, is starting to become indispensable for researchers, just like an email address“.

      Reply
      • Brian, I was thinking the same: Twitter may well be on its way to become a mainstream communication tool for researchers.

        Reply
  2. I’ve participated on the crowdometer, having assessed a bit over 30 tweets. What was dispiriting was that most of them were simply tweeting a synopsis of the title plus a link. OK, you can’t do much more in a 140-character tweet, but I couldn’t see how the tweets could really add much to dissemination.

    It’s possible of course that the societal role of the tweeter is significant: “if person X, known for good judgement in my opinion, tweets a paper, then it’s worth reading”. I think there certainly is a positive rather than merely neutral inference in tweeting a paper. There was a small amount of retweeting, whch presumably does add some weight.

    What I didn’t see was any kind of buzz: “wow, did you see xxx?”, “hey, paper xxx seems to corroborate/contradict our hypothesis” etc.

    But I certainly didn’t get the feeling that this was an “essential tool” for researchers to promote their work…

    Reply
    • My suggestion that Facebook and Twitter may becoming embedded in dissemination processes was based on the increasing use of links to these service in tools such as the SpingerLink app. This allows you to send an email (to whom) or a status update to your Facebook nor Twitter communities.

      Note that since the Crowdometer tool was only launched on 20 December it’s perhaps understandable why the potential benefits are yet to be gauged (even scientists deserve some time off over Christmas!). This was a reason for the “(and More)” suggestion of the benefits of Twitter beyond dissemination which I added in parentheses in the title of the post: Facebook and Twitter as Infrastructure for Dissemination of Research Papers (and More).

      Reply
      • Um, the last bit is based on a misunderstanding; the crowdometer tool is getting some dat by classifying a fixed set of 500 tweets from late last year, rather than a dynamic tool for boosting access! The idea is to add some data to the general altmetrics movement. You’ll see from the stats gathered that almost all are the fairly neutral “discusses” rather than a positive endorsement or negative bashing. So in my comment I was referring only to this experimental subset rather than the tweet popultion I see flying by. However, my comments on the impact of “stars” (eg Wilbanks for example) were more based on general experience than the classifcation task.

        Reply

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