Study: how many scholars use Twitter, and how do they use it?
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Is Twitter an ascendant scholarly communication medium, or just an overhyped fad? We sought to answer this question by examining the Twitter use habits, if any, of 8,826 scholars from five diverse universities.

Investigators

  • Jason Priem (@jasonpriem): planning, data collection, programming, statistics, categorizing tweets, literature review, writing
  • Kaitlin Costello (@k8lin): planning, data collection, categorizing tweets, literature review, writing
  • Tyler Dzuba (@silent_d): categorizing tweets

Products

Coverage

Data

We're not including the raw data with this project to protect the privacy of the people in our sample. We used only information from public Twitter profiles and public Web pages to compile the sample; however, it's important to consider people's expectations of privacy when aggregating data from multiple sources [1]. So although we generally prefer to share all research data, in this case we're erring on the side of caution.

[1] Zimmer, M. (2010). “But the data is already public”: on the ethics of research in Facebook. Ethics and information technology, 1–13. http://michaelzimmer.org/2009/06/18/draft-paper-but-the-data-is-already-public/

Further reading

This is the second study we've done on scholarly Tweeting. You can find a citation and link to fulltext of our first one, "How and why scholars cite on Twitter," in this public Zotero library, along with a selection of similar studies by other folks.