Why tweet about your research?


In Social Media for Academics, Mark Carrigan highlights the value of twitter and social media for the dissemination of research.  He cites an example of one of his own papers and I thought it might be useful to blog about my own experiences surrounding a recent paper.

Through my own sharing of the paper and then others retweets and sharing, the paper rapidly gained a high altmetric score, in fact in just a few weeks it was one of the top 10% of articles that had been score ever and the highest in the journal, and from the snapshot below, in less than one month, it is one of the top 5% of research outputs ever tracked. This score continues to rise and as of today, 2 weeks later its score now sits at 30.

Screen Shot 2016-04-06 at 22.47.57

I have cautioned before on this blog about using Twitter simply as a form of dissemination, and as such have been careful not to simply spew out links to the paper. This does not mean I limited myself to one tweet, however. It was interesting to see that even after ten tweets, there were still people I regularly interact with on twitter picking it up for the first time. Ways in which I did this was linking it to relevant other stories, tweeting directly to people who might be interested and changing the content of the tweet to interest different audiences

Another strategy I adopted was to pin a tweet with the link to my timeline. This was particularly useful when I was speaking at the BSA conference and at another event as it meant people who were looking at tweets for the event had easy access and I am sure that in part quite a few of the downloads were through this.

Due to the paper’s high altmetrics score, Taylor and Francis #readmyresearch initiative has now made the paper open access for a period of time. The impact this had on further exposure and downloads has been immense.  These have gone from just under 250 downloads to over 450 in the past two weeks. Obviously, this is largely due to the article becoming open access the value of which has been extensively documented elsewhere.

As Melissa Terras cautions against in her blog, downloads don’t really give the full story and it may be a number of years before I understand to what extent my work may or may not have been used as a result. That being said, as authors we write in the hope that someone will read our work and without twitter, I do not think that this paper would have gained anywhere near the attention it has.



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