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Disseminating Scientific Research via Twitter: Research Evidence and Practical Insights

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About one-fifth of current scientific papers are being shared on Twitter. With nearly 69 million active U.S. Twitter users (24% of the U.S. adult population) and 328 million monthly active users worldwide, Twitter is one of the biggest social networks worldwide. Understandably, hopes are high that tweets mentioning scientific articles and research findings can reach peers and the general public. Studies show that most of the engagement with scientific papers on Twitter takes place among members of academia and thus reflects visibility within the scientific community rather than impact on society. However, there are ways to reach the broader public. This webinar will provide an overview of using Twitter to reach peers and non-specialist groups, the relationship between tweets and citations, and provide tips for building an academic Twitter presence.

Speaker: Katja Reuter, PhD, Assistant Professor of Clinical Preventive Medicine at the Institute for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Research in the Department of Preventive Medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC; Director of Digital Innovation and Communication for the Southern California Clinical and Translational Research Institute (SC CTSI).

Learning objectives:
1. Describe the strengths and limitations of using Twitter for the dissemination of scientific research.
2. Describe practical approaches for building an academic presence on Twitter.
3. Describe approaches to identify and reach different audiences on Twitter.

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Disseminating Scientific Research via Twitter: Research Evidence and Practical Insights

  1. 1. Digital Scholar Webinar March 7, 2018 Hosted by the Southern California Clinical and Translational Science Institute (SC CTSI) University of Southern California (USC) and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA)
  2. 2. Katja Reuter, PhD, Director of the Digital Scholar Program About Today’s Session
  3. 3. Disseminating scientific research via Twitter Research evidence and Practical insights
  4. 4. “To be or not to be on Twitter”
  5. 5. Today’s Learning Objectives  Describe the strengths and limitations of using Twitter for the dissemination of scientific research  Describe practical approaches for building an academic presence on Twitter  Describe approaches to identify and reach different audiences on Twitter
  6. 6. Questions: Please use the Q&A Feature 1. Click on the tab here to access Q&A 2. Ask and post question here 1 2
  7. 7. The social network Twitter
  8. 8. Scientists on Social Networks http://www.nature.com/news/online-collaboration-scientists-and-the-social-network-1.15711
  9. 9. Twitter Usage by Scientists About 10-15% of researchers use Twitter for work (Rowlands et al., 2011; van Noorden, 2014) Research Evidence
  10. 10. Twitter Usage by Scientists About 20% of current scientific papers shared on Twitter (Haustein, Costas, and Lariviere, 2015) Research Evidence This data is based on research studies that used Altmetric data.
  11. 11. Web link: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/asi.23101/abstract Research Evidence
  12. 12. Twitter Usage by Scientists About 20% of current scientific papers shared on Twitter (Haustein, Costas, and Lariviere, 2015) Research Evidence Less than 10% of biomedical articles mentioned on Twitter (Haustein et al., 2013) This data is based on research studies that used Altmetric data.
  13. 13. Linking to Research Papers Research Evidence Less than 3% of researchers’ tweets include links to scientific articles (Priem and Costello, 2010) This data is based on research studies that used Altmetric data. ’Citation tweets’ The size of the audience may increase exponentially if they are retweeted.
  14. 14. Dissemination vs. citation impact
  15. 15. Web link: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11192-016-2113-0 Research Evidence
  16. 16. Twitter Can Help with Scientific Dissemination Web link: http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/impactofsocialsciences/2017/01/11/twitter-can-help-with- scientific-dissemination-but-its-influence-on-citation-impact-is-less-clear/ Research Evidence …but its influence on citation impact is less clear Study by José Luis Ortega, based on 4,166 research articles from 76 Twitter users and 124 non-Twitter users Findings: Papers from Twitter users are 33 % more tweeted than documents of non-Twitter users. From Twitter users, the increase of followers produced 30 % more tweets. No differences were found between the citation impact (i.e. number of citations) of papers authored by Twitter users and non-Twitter users. Number of Followers Dissemination Likelihood of Views and Citations
  17. 17. Studies on Twitter Mentions and Citation Impact Research Evidence • Articles published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research that were tweeted about frequently in the first three days following publication were 11 times more likely to be highly cited 17 to 29 months later than 400 less tweeted articles (Eysenbach 2011). • Top-cited articles could be predicted quite accurately from their early tweeting frequency (Eysenbach 2011). • Do Altmetrics work? Twitter and 10 Other Social Web Services (Thelwall et al., 2013). Statistically significant associations were found between higher metric scores and higher citations for articles with positive altmetric scores in all cases with sufficient evidence (Twitter, Facebook wall posts, research highlights, blogs, mainstream media and forums) except perhaps for Google+ posts. Evidence was insufficient for LinkedIn, Pinterest, question and answer sites, and Reddit, and no conclusions should be drawn about articles with zero altmetric scores or the strength of any correlation between altmetrics and citations. • Of ~4600 scientific articles published in the preprint database arXiv.org, researchers found that papers with more mentions on Twitter were also associated with more downloads and early citations of papers, although the causality of these relationships is unclear (Shuai et al. 2012).
  18. 18. Dissemination on Twitter and readership
  19. 19. Increasing Readership Through Social Media http://journalofdigitalhumanities.org/1-3/the-impact-of-social-media-on-the-dissemination-of-research-by- melissa-terras/ Research Evidence
  20. 20. Melissa Terras Professor of Digital Humanities in, Department of Information Studies, University College London; Director of UCL Centre for Digital Humanities. Twitter: @melissaterras “What became clear to me very quickly was the correlation between talking about my research online and the spike in downloads of my papers from our institutional repository. Academics need to work on their digital presence to aid in the dissemination of their research, to both their subject peers and the wider community.” Perspective http://digitalmediaandscience.wordpress.com/2012/10/05/more-people-look-at-research-if-it-is-promoted- via-social-media-a-case-study-2/
  21. 21. Tweeting an Open Access Paper http://melissaterras.blogspot.com/2011/11/what-happens-when-you-tweet-open-access.html Research Evidence
  22. 22. Establishing an academic presence on Twitter
  23. 23. Primary Elements of a Twitter Profile Practical Insights Username and handle Profile description Profile photo Banner image Sent pubic messages People person follows Location Link to professional homepage
  24. 24. Example: Academic Twitter Profile Practical Insights Banner image
  25. 25. Example: Academic Twitter Profile Practical Insights
  26. 26. Defining a Hashtag Practical Insights A word or phrase preceded by a hash or pound sign (#) and used to identify messages on a specific topic and to reach specific target audiences. Examples: #diabetes #smbc (socialmedia and breast cancer)
  27. 27. Symplur’s Hashtag Project http://www.symplur.com/healthcare-hashtags/diseases/ Practical Insights
  28. 28. View the latest tweets https://www.symplur.com/healthcare-hashtags/coloncancer/ Practical Insights
  29. 29. Writing for Twitter 280 characters maximum
  30. 30. Anatomy of a Tweet Account name (Tweter’s name) Twitter user name/handle Click to follow this account More options, e.g., copy link to tweet, embed tweet Twitter message (limit 280 characters) Profile thumbnail image/Avatar Mentions of other Twitter users Hashtags, i.e., a word or phrase preceded by a hash or pound sign (#) and used to identify and categorize messages on Twitter Time and date tweet was sent Engagement data Not shown: Shortened URL Click to reply Click to retweet (share) Click to like Click to send direct message Practical Insights
  31. 31. Writing for Twitter 1. Reflecting on academic life and related experiences 2. Asking questions Practical Insights
  32. 32. Writing for Twitter 1. Reflecting on academic life 2. Asking questions 3. Vetting news Practical Insights
  33. 33. Writing for Twitter 1. Reflecting on academic life 2. Asking questions 3. Vetting news 4. Promoting others Practical Insights
  34. 34. Writing for Twitter 1. Reflecting on academic life 2. Asking questions 3. Vetting news 4. Promoting others 5. Providing insight and thought leadership Practical Insights
  35. 35. Writing for Twitter 1. Reflecting on academic life 2. Asking questions 3. Vetting news 4. Promoting others 5. Providing insight and thought leadership 6. Clinician-scientists can share patient experiences (contingent upon their consent) Practical Insights
  36. 36. Writing for Twitter 1. Reflecting on academic life 2. Asking questions 3. Vetting news 4. Promoting others 5. Providing insight and thought leadership 6. Clinician-scientists can share experiences from patients (contingent upon consent) 7. Share your research Practical Insights
  37. 37. Research Evidence
  38. 38. Tips: Sharing Research Papers on Twitter 1. Mention and acknowledge the author (include Twitter handle if possible) 2. Put study findings in perspective, discuss and comments—more informally and more informatively than a paper’s title and summary can 3. Break down paper results into different tweets, highlight different interesting aspects of the study—either for peers or for the general public 4. If you promote your own research (self-citation), highlight the value for others. Practical Insights
  39. 39. US Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) Yes No Final PDF produced by the publisher Final accepted version of the manuscript Practical Insights
  40. 40. Who Shares Research Papers on Twitter
  41. 41. Who Shares Research Articles on Twitter? Scientific papers are tweeted by • Individuals who identify professionally, personnel, or both • Organizations or interest groups Accounts with organizational descriptions seem to have disseminative role (Haustein, Costas, and Lariviere, 2015) Research Evidence
  42. 42. http://genomebiology.com/2014/15/7/424 Check Institution Social Media Policy
  43. 43. Selecting a Journal Does it matter whether a journal has its own Twitter account?
  44. 44. Web link: http://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/abs/10.1108/AJIM-02-2017-0055 Research Evidence
  45. 45. Academic Journals with a Presence on Twitter Web link: http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/impactofsocialsciences/2017/12/04/academic-journals-with-a- presence-on-twitter-are-more-widely-disseminated-and-receive-a-higher-number-of-citations/ Research Evidence …are more widely disseminated and receive a higher number of citations Study by José Luis Ortega, based on 350 scholarly journals, analyzed how their articles were tweeted and cited Findings: Articles from journals that have their own Twitter handle are more tweeted about than articles from journals whose only Twitter presence is through a scientific society or publisher account. Articles published in journals with any sort of Twitter presence also receive more citations than those published in journals with no Twitter presence.
  46. 46. Journals in the Health Sciences with Their Own Twitter Account JAMA: @JAMA_current JAMA Otolaryngology: @JAMAOto JAMA Neurology @JAMANeuro Lancet: @TheLancet The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology: @TheLancetEndo Annals of Oncology: @Annals_Oncology Science magazine: @NewsfromScience Royal Society Publishing: @RSocPublishing Journal of Medical Internet Research: @jmirpub BreastCancerResearch: @BCRJournal J Neurophysiology: @JNeurophysiol ACI: @ACI_Journal Nature Medicine: @NatureMedicine Circulation Research: @CircRes British Dental Jnl: @The_BDJ Sociology Journal: @sociologyjnl Genome Research: @genomeresearch J_Biomed_Info: @J_Biomed_Info CIN Journal: @CIN_online Practical Insights
  47. 47. Q u e s t i o n s Program director: Katja Reuter, PhD Email: katja.reuter@usc.edu Twitter: @dmsci Next Digital Scholar Webinar I n f o r m a t i o n a b o u t t h e p r o g r a m https://sc-ctsi.org/training- education/digital-scholar-program April 4, 2018/12-1PM PST Topic: Research Data Sharing and Re-Use: Practical Implications for Data Citation Practice that Benefit Researchers Register at: https://redcap.sc- ctsi.org/surveys/?s=PYMFRD979E&t=ResearchShareReuse_Par kANDWolfram

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