About one-fifth of current scientific papers are being shared on Twitter. With 230 million active users and 24 percent of the U.S. online population using the microblogging platform, hopes are high that tweets mentioning scientific articles reflect some type of interest by the general public and might even be able to measure the societal impact of research. However, early 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. At the same time, some tweets do not involve any human engagement but rather are generated automatically by Twitter bots. This talk focuses on identifying audiences on Twitter and teaches participants how to collect, analyze, visualize, and interpret diffusion patterns of scientific articles on Twitter. The course provides an overview of Altmetrics research and present the challenges – including methods and first results – of classifying Twitter user groups, with a particular focus on identifying members of the general public and measuring societal impact. The course will provide hands-on exercises and instructions on how to analyze by whom, when, and how scientific papers are shared on Twitter.
Stefanie Haustein, PhD
Assistant Professor, School of Information Studies, University of Ottawa