What all those scientists on Twitter are really doing
In the first broad look at the behaviour of thousands of scientists on Twitter, researchers have found that women are better represented on the social-media site than on scientific papers. The team also noted that scientists tended to stick with researchers in their area of expertise while on the social-media site.
The study1, published last week in PLOS ONE, is a more representative look at how scientists use the site than previous work, says Kaitlin Costello, an information scientist at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, who was not involved in the paper. Past studies have targeted specific fields or groups of researchers to analyse their behaviour on Twitter.
To find a broad range of tweeting researchers, Cassidy Sugimoto, an information scientist at Indiana University Bloomington, and her colleagues started with a list of scientific titles from the US Bureau of Labour Statistics and Wikipedia. They then combed Twitter lists for people with these titles. This initial search generated a group of “seed” scientists. The team then searched lists that contained these seed researchers, looking for more people with scientific titles.