11/09/2013
Katy Jordan
The Open University
Katy.jordan@open.ac.uk
@katy_jordan
Association for Learning
Technology Confere...
Defining academic SNS
“We define social network
sites as web-based services
that allow individuals to (1)
construct a publ...
Affordances of academic SNS
• Identity: Constructing an online academic profile
– Almousa, 2011; Menendez, de Angeli &
Men...
Research questions
• What is the structure of academic social
networks?
• To what extent do different academic social
netw...
Research methods
• Focused upon Open University (OU) academics
• Mapped network of connections between OU-
affiliated acad...
Visualizing the networks - discipline
Mendeley Academia.edu
Community structure
Historical & Philosophical Studies
Education
Biological Sciences
Social Studies
Computer Science
Busin...
Connection and position in the
network
• Both degree and centrality showed significant
differences according to position
•...
Survey results
Theme Item Subject Position Active
Communication
– posing and
answering
questions
Being able to ask questio...
Conclusions
• Provided an insight into the network structure
fostered by academic SNS
• Similarities with social network s...
Acknowledgements
• Thanks to my supervisors, Professor Martin Weller
and Dr. Canan Blake.
• This work was made possible th...
References
• Almousa, O. (2011) Users’ classification and usage-pattern identification in academic
social networks. Proc. ...
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Academics and their online networks: Exploring the role of academic social networking sites

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Jordan, K. (2013) Academics and their online networks: Exploring the role of academic social networking sites. Presentation at the Association for Learning Technology Conference (ALT-C), 11th September 2013, University of Nottingham, UK.

Published in: Technology, Education

Academics and their online networks: Exploring the role of academic social networking sites

  1. 1. 11/09/2013 Katy Jordan The Open University Katy.jordan@open.ac.uk @katy_jordan Association for Learning Technology Conference 11th September 2013 Academics and their online networks Exploring the role of academic social networking sites
  2. 2. Defining academic SNS “We define social network sites as web-based services that allow individuals to (1) construct a public or semi- public profile within a bounded system, (2) articulate a list of other users with whom they share a connection, and (3) view and traverse their list of connections and those made by others within the system.” (boyd & Ellison, 2007). 0 500000 1000000 1500000 2000000 2500000 Numberofusers Web rank Academia.edu ResearchGate.net Mendeley.com Lallslo.com Mynetresearch.com Iamresearcher.com Academici.com
  3. 3. Affordances of academic SNS • Identity: Constructing an online academic profile – Almousa, 2011; Menendez, de Angeli & Menestrina, 2012 • Communication: Discovery and dissemination of research findings; asking and answering questions. – Veletsianos, 2011 • Collaboration: Finding similar or different collaborators; supporting active research relationships. – Jeng et al., 2012; Oh & Jeng, 2011
  4. 4. Research questions • What is the structure of academic social networks? • To what extent do different academic social networking sites foster similar networks? • Do factors such as discipline or position correlate with behaviour in the network?
  5. 5. Research methods • Focused upon Open University (OU) academics • Mapped network of connections between OU- affiliated academics on three main academic SNS • Categorised according to position and discipline • Survey carried out on a sub-sample to explore perceptions about role of academic SNS and follow up on differences in network structure based on position and discipline
  6. 6. Visualizing the networks - discipline Mendeley Academia.edu
  7. 7. Community structure Historical & Philosophical Studies Education Biological Sciences Social Studies Computer Science Business & Administration Creative Arts & Design Medicine related Physical Sciences Mathematics Languages Law Linguistics, Classics & related Engineering
  8. 8. Connection and position in the network • Both degree and centrality showed significant differences according to position • More senior academics have a higher degree and occupy a more central position in the network 0 10 20 30 40 Degree Position  = In degree ☐ = out degree
  9. 9. Survey results Theme Item Subject Position Active Communication – posing and answering questions Being able to ask questions of the online community is important Academic SNS allow me to draw upon a wider community of expertise when I need help Communication – academic publications Academic SNS are a good way of promoting my own academic publications Academic SNS are a good way of finding out about new publications of interest Collaboration – present and future Academic SNS are a useful way to support working in collaboration with other researchers Having a profile will enhance my future career prospects Identity – how academics view the role of profiles Being part of an academic SNS is useful My online academic and personal identities are separated I see my profile as an online business card I use my profile as a research journal I actively interact with others via the site Identity – exploring trends in network structure I only follow people who I know personally If someone follows me, I follow them back I follow people who I would like to work with in the future I follow people as a way of staying in touch with people I used to work with
  10. 10. Conclusions • Provided an insight into the network structure fostered by academic SNS • Similarities with social network structures in other contexts • Subject area influential on community structure • Seniority influential on position and connectivity of individual nodes
  11. 11. Acknowledgements • Thanks to my supervisors, Professor Martin Weller and Dr. Canan Blake. • This work was made possible through a doctoral studentship from the Centre for Research in Education and Educational Technology at the Open University, UK. • Special thanks to all of the Open University graduate students and academics who took part in the pilot study.
  12. 12. References • Almousa, O. (2011) Users’ classification and usage-pattern identification in academic social networks. Proc. AEECT. • boyd, d.m. & Ellison, N.B. (2007) Social network sites: Definition, history and scholarship. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication 13, 1, article 1. • Jeng, W., He, D., Jiang, J. & Zhang, Y. (2012) Groups in Mendeley: Owners’ descriptions and group outcomes. Proc. ASIST. • Menendez, M., de Angeli, A. & Menestrina, Z. (2012) Chapter 4: Exploring the virtual space of academia. In: J. Dugdale et al. (eds.) From research to practice in the design of cooperative systems. Springer. • Nentwich, M. & Konig, R.(2012) Cyberscience 2.0: Research in the age of digital social networks. Campus Verlag. • Oh, J.S. & Jeng, W. (2011) Groups in academic social networking services: An exploration of their potential as a platform for multi-disciplinary collaboration. Proc. SocialCom. • Rainie, L. & Wellman, B. (2012) Networked: The new social operating system. Cambridge: MIT Press. • Veletsianos, G. (2011), Higher education scholars' participation and practices on Twitter. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning 28(4), 336-349. • Weller, M. (2011) The Digital Scholar: How technology is transforming scholarly practice. London: Bloomsbury.
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