Shall we use social media for our research?


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Co-Production of Knowledge: Social meida, STS and ...

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Shall we use social media for our research?

  1. 1.  Yimei Zhu Sociology PhD Student  University of Manchester  Twitter: @yimeizhu
  2. 2.  Introduction Background What’s the question now and what can be done? Methods Results and Discussion Conclusion and future work
  3. 3.  My PhD thesis: Are the new forms of scholarly communication the pathway to open science? Open access to publication Open access to research data Using social media for scholarly communication This paper I’m presenting today is focused on using social media for scholarly communication based on a pilot study I’ve conducted with a number of UK based academic researchers.
  4. 4.  Scholarly communication, has been used as a broad term to cover all the activities and norms of academic research related to producing, exchanging and disseminating knowledge (Rieger 2010; Hahn et al. 2011).
  5. 5.  A study of the adoption and use of Web 2.0 in scholarly communication conducted 3 years ago with UK academic communities and publishers by internet survey, interviews and case studies: Procter, R., Williams, R. & Stewart, J. (2010a). If You Build It, Will They Come? How Researchers Perceive and Use Web 2.0. Research Information Network. Procter, R., Williams, R., Stewart, J., Poschen, M., Snee, H., Vos s, A. & Asgari-Targhi, M. (2010b). Adoption and use of Web 2.0 in scholarly communications. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A, 368(1926).
  6. 6.  What Procter et al (2010a) found: Only 4% write a research blog and 6% post slides, text and videos publicly as frequent users. 39% of UK academics are non-users of Web 2.0. The forms of current scholarly communication in the UK academia were strongly influenced by disciplinary and institutional norms and variance.
  7. 7.  Some Questions to consider: Has the attitudes and practice changed in the last three years? How has Twitter been used for scholarly communication? what strategies can be employed to maximise the impact of using social media? Is there any possible causal relations between various variables and the researchers’ attitudes and practice
  8. 8.  Pilot study Internet survey Follow-up interviews Social Network Analysis Participant observation
  9. 9.  Shall we use social media for our research?
  10. 10.  Interviews: By face-to-face, Skype and Emails Participant observation
  11. 11.  Users: Male, Professor in Politics Male, Lecturer in Social Science Male, PhD student in Education Female, PhD student in Education Female, PhD student in Biology Non-users: Male, Senior Lecturer in Music composing Male, PhD student in Politics Female, PhD student in Material Engineering
  12. 12.  Talk to various researchers about their attitudes towards and experience of using social media Created my own twitter account and academic blog, as well as joined a number of social media sites.
  13. 13.  Current most commonly used social media sites for research-related purpose: Blog sites (e.g.,WordPress), Twitter, Facebook groups and pages
  14. 14.  Also used:,Pinterest,Mendeley, etc.
  15. 15.  Finding information as well as disseminating information (Procter et al, 2010a) ‘Twitter – links, information, discussion. Blogs – dissemination, information.’(Male, PhD student in Education) ‘I use blogs and Twitter to disseminate information about my research and that of my colleagues, to ask questions that will help my research, and to circulate news or articles within my fields of research.’ (Male, Professor in Politics)
  16. 16.  Build a community and support network: Share useful resources Offer advices and feedbacks
  17. 17.  Networking at a conference using Twitter hashtag (e.g., #stssm) ‘Yes I use Twitter during a conference. I find it a useful way of meeting new useful contacts (via hashtags), sharing jokes, links etc. generally a positive experience.’ (Male, Lecturer in Social Science)
  18. 18.  Get advice and feedback you otherwise won’t be able to get quickly ‘There have been a few occasions when Ive asked a question, e.g. "Has anyone ever done a study of X", and some followers will message me with suggestions and reading. So that is a very quick way to do a literature review.’ (Male, Professor in Politics)
  19. 19.  Increase readership and thus citation ‘More readership will bring more citations. I think the xxx blog is regularly trying to prove this’. (Male, Professor in Politics) Eysenbach (2011) found that disseminating publication information in twitter either increases citations or reflects the underlying qualities of the published paper which also predicts citations.
  20. 20.  Danger of hurting reputation Eg., Inappropriate content linked to your profile Getting abused if publicly posting opinions about sensitive issues Revealing too much personal information (eg., get students friends request)
  21. 21.  Reason of not using social media: 1. No time 2. Don’t trust information online that are not peer-reviewed 3. Isolation and self-deprecation 4. Don’t like anonymity 5. Prefer face-to-face or other traditional communication methods 6. Lack of perceived value 7.Subject area or professional status reasons
  22. 22.  Link different social media sites for cross- platform promotion. ‘I use my twitter network to promote my blog.’ (Male, Lecturer in Social Science) ‘Linking each site to one another so that they’re updated automatically… I set up WordPress link to my Twitter which is linked to my Facebook page…So I cover both bases separately. I used to post on Facebook and Twitter about my blog post. Once I set up the link on WordPress, it would just do it at once.’ (Female, PhD student in Education)
  23. 23.  ‘I use Buffer to automatically set tweets on twitter… Buffer is time saving. On Buffer, I can set up that I retweet it at 2, retweet that at 4…Buffer automatically tweets on my behalf. So people don’t have to spend a lot of time on social media, because some tool can do it for you automatically.’ (Female, PhD student in Education).
  24. 24.  Examples: Twitter #phdchat network (one hour chat every Wednesday 7.30-8.30 UK time)
  25. 25.  Facebook Group: UoM Sociology PhD Blog network
  26. 26.  Creative commons license: free to use and add to a blog site protect the copyright of the content on the website tells people what they can do about it
  27. 27.  ‘Twitter is professional, and Facebook is for personal, and there is very little (although increasing) overlap.’ (Male, Lecturer in Social Science) Facebook to stay in touch with friends and family, twitter to publicise my work.… At least 99% of my tweets are work/research-related.’ (Male, Professor in Politics)
  28. 28.  ‘I’d only put online what I’m not ashamed of and willing to publicly defend.’ (Female, PhD student in Education). Use blog as a reflective tool to think about the research and the process of doing research rather than revealing the findings
  29. 29.  Link your blog to other popular blog Using anonymity and pseudonym
  30. 30.  In social sciences, the nature of research and their findings are very different from natural sciences which determine what can and can not be blogged about. For example, for politics science, there are not many definitive findings.
  31. 31.  Does the use of social media have more potential benefits for early career researchers than for professors?
  32. 32.  I started using Twitter last year and recently started my blog and Facebook Page It was hard to gain followers (36 on Tue) Need technical support or help from someone more experienced Don’t know what to tweet or blog about Don’t know the benefit of writing a blog post
  33. 33.  Depends on who ‘we’ are—researchers at different disciplines and various stage of career paths have different needs. It can be very helpful for early career researchers to raise their profiles to peers and an international audience. It can be very useful for some discipline areas, such as politics, when the research aims to reach out quickly to a wider population of audience or to be picked up by the media.
  34. 34.  Social Media can be beneficial for anyone who use it wisely. Employ strategies—learn from colleagues and attend workshops Learn by doing it Be careful about the content you put on the social web Follow disciplinary/institutional norm— eg., not revealing findings too early
  35. 35.  An internet survey with UK academic researchers to obtain a representative sample More follow-up-interviews and participant observation after the survey
  36. 36.  Eysenbach, G. (2011). Can tweets predict citations? Metrics of social impact based on twitter and correlation with traditional metrics of scientific impact. Journal of medical Internet research, 13(4). Hahn, T., Burright, M. & Duggan, H. (2011). Has the revolution in scholarly communication lived up to its promise? American Society for Information Science and Technology, 37(5), 5. Merton, R. K. (1957). Priorities in scientific discovery: a chapter in the sociology of science. American Sociological Review, 22(6), 635-659. Procter, R., Williams, R. & Stewart, J. (2010a). If You Build It, Will They Come? How Researchers Perceive and Use Web 2.0. Research Information Network. Available at www. rin. ac. uk/system/files/attachments/web_2. 0_screen. pdf [accessed 21 Dec 2011]. Procter, R., Williams, R., Stewart, J., Poschen, M., Snee, H., Voss, A. & Asgari-Targhi, M. (2010b). Adoption and use of Web 2.0 in scholarly communications. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A, 368(1926). Rieger, O. Y. (2010). Framing digital humanities: The role of new media in humanities scholarship. First Monday, 15(10).
  37. 37.  Follow me @yimeizhu