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Can We Count on Social Media Metrics? First Insights into the Active Scholarly Use of Social Media

Presentation at WebSci 2018. Full paper available at: https://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?doid=3201064.3201101

Abstract

Measuring research impact is important for ranking publications in academic search engines and for research evaluation. Social media metrics, or altmetrics, measure the impact of scientific work based on social media activity. Altmetrics are complementary to traditional, citation-based metrics, e.g. allowing the assessment of new publications for which citations are not yet available. Despite the increasing importance of altmetrics, their characteristics are not well understood: Until now it has not been researched what kind of scholars are actively using which social media services and why – important questions for scientific impact prediction. Based on a survey of 3,430 scientists, we uncover previously unknown and significant differences between social media services: We identify services which attract young and experienced researchers, respectively, and detect differences in usage motivations. Our findings have direct implications for designing future altmetrics for scientific impact prediction.

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Can We Count on Social Media Metrics? First Insights into the Active Scholarly Use of Social Media

  1. 1. Can We Count on Social Media Metrics? First Insights into the Active Scholarly Use of Social Media Maryam Mehrazar ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics
  2. 2. Motivation 22
  3. 3. 3
  4. 4. 4 Social Media Metrics
  5. 5. 5
  6. 6. 6 Social Media Metrics Like Bookmark Share Post Social Media Metrics - Altmetrics measure user activities related to scholarly publications on social media
  7. 7. Altmetrics Aggregators Altmetrics aggregators collect altmetrics from different social media E.g. posts on Slideshare, Facebook, Google+ 7 Source: https://plumanalytics.com
  8. 8. Meanings of Altmetrics Do altmetrics have the same semantics across services? Likes on = Likes on 8 ?
  9. 9. Research Question:  Are there differences between the users of different services? 9 Do altmetrics have the same semantics across services?
  10. 10. Our Survey Social media use of researchers  Which social media do researchers use?  Why do they use social media?  Participants: 3,430 (6% response rate)  Active users: 1,731 (at least one activity per week) 1010
  11. 11. Service Differences 11 N=34 N=47 N=139 N= 611 N=372 N=184 N=130 N=101 N= 150 N=35 N=350 N= 48
  12. 12. 12 Early-stage scientists:  StackExchange  StackOverflow  GitHub Experienced scientists:  Google+  Twitter  LinkedIn  SlideShare  Wikipedia
  13. 13. Motives for Using Social Media Survey Question: “Why do you retweet/share/... academic research on social media?” →We extract motives for social media use by training a topic model (LDA) on the free text answers 13
  14. 14. Latent Motives Topic Description 0 Accessing and sharing papers of peers/other people 1 Users who think that their research is relevant to others 2 Finding and sharing interesting work 3 Getting information on new topics 4 Spreading interesting results 5 Showing interesting topics to the community 6 Downloading articles and publicly available works 7 Sharing relevant research with friends 8 Repeats the question 9 Promoting important work of colleagues 14
  15. 15. Topic Differences 15 Probabilitydifference Topic ID Topic ID 2 Finding and sharing interesting work 3 Getting information on new topics 7 Sharing relevant research with friends 9 Promoting important work of colleagues
  16. 16. Conclusion  A like is not a like!  We should not simply sum up altmetrics from different services  Social Media Services fulfill different needs and therefore, they have different demographics 16
  17. 17.  Aggregated altmetrics should have a meaning  One could e.g. predict future citations  The models would depend on research experience and academic role  Knowing the demographics of services allows for weighting these models 17 Conclusion

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