Accelerating scholarly communication: The transformative role of preprints

“The overall objective of this study was to explore the place of preprints in the research lifecycle from the points of view of researchers, research performing organisations, research funding organisations and preprint servers/ service providers. Our investigation covered:

` Core benefits and usage in the case of researchers, including incentives and disincentives

` Attitudes of research performing organisations (RPOs) and research funders

` Values, strategies and aims of service providers….”

[1909.01476] How much research shared on Facebook is hidden from public view? A comparison of public and private online activity around PLOS ONE papers

Abstract:  Despite its undisputed position as the biggest social media platform, Facebook has never entered the main stage of altmetrics research. In this study, we argue that the lack of attention by altmetrics researchers is not due to a lack of relevant activity on the platform, but because of the challenges in collecting Facebook data have been limited to activity that takes place in a select group of public pages and groups. We present a new method of collecting shares, reactions, and comments across the platform-including private timelines-and use it to gather data for all articles published between 2015 to 2017 in the journal PLOS ONE. We compare the gathered data with altmetrics collected and aggregated by Altmetric. The results show that 58.7% of papers shared on the platform happen outside of public view and that, when collecting all shares, the volume of activity approximates patterns of engagement previously only observed for Twitter. Both results suggest that the role and impact of Facebook as a medium for science and scholarly communication has been underestimated. Furthermore, they emphasise the importance of openness and transparency around the collection and aggregation of altmetrics.


Maximizing dissemination and engaging readers: The other 50% of an author’s day: A case study – Green – – Learned Publishing – Wiley Online Library

“Key points


  • Dissemination should be the other 50% of what authors do: being read and having impact will not happen by itself.
  • Authors can influence discovery and readership through owned media – i.e. their own communication activities.
  • Earned media – i.e. when influencers write about your work – is key to reaching larger and more diverse audiences.
  • There is plenty of data for tracking engagement and use of articles, but it is scattered across multiple tools and providers and can be misleading or even incorrect.
  • Listservs can have higher engagement than modern, ‘cool’, social networking tools….”

So, are early career researchers the harbingers of change? – Nicholas – 2019 – Learned Publishing – Wiley Online Library

Interestingly, open science, which is something that many ECRs are still only waking up to as a concept, is the next most unchanging aspect. The large gap between positive attitudes (30%) and more practice (14%) is partly explained by the fact that it is only just obtaining traction and partly because of fears over tenure and reputation. Take Spanish ECRs, for instance, where assessment policies and reputational concerns – absolutely critical, of course, to ECRs in obtaining secure employment – conspire to prevent the ready adoption of open science in practice. That is not to say that all ECRs are completely happy with all the component parts of open science. Thus, they tend not welcome the visibility open peer review brings with it as it could have reputational consequences, as one French ECR said: ‘Open Peer Review is tricky because you engage your own reputation as a reviewer’. Open data can be a poisoned chalice as well because ECRs do not want to give away their data until they have fully exploited it, as one Spanish ECR told us: ‘Sharing data is good for verification and reproducibility, but we should wait before we do this until they have been completely exploited to avoid losing our competitive edge’. Nevertheless, a number of counties (e.g. France and Poland) are rolling out open science national plans, and funders will expect compliance down the line….

Returning to the question posed at the very beginning of the study, whether ECRs are the harbingers of change, weighting up all the evidence, the answer has to be yes, albeit a slightly qualified yes. The drivers of change are social media, open science, and collaboration propelled by ECRs’ Millennium generation beliefs. …

Indeed, there may be plenty of papers exhorting ECRs to embrace open practices (Eschert, 2015; Gould, 2015; McKiernan et al., 2016), but no research robustly showing that ECRs are in fact rushing to do this. Of course, most of these studies predate the Harbingers study, so, maybe, things have changed in the interim, which explains why the results of this study, indicating that the scholarly walls have been breached in places, and ECRs have planted one foot in the future, is at odds with the research of many of our peers. …”

Share or perish: Social media and the International Journal of Mental Health Nursing – McNamara – – International Journal of Mental Health Nursing – Wiley Online Library

Abstract:  The impact of published research is sometimes measured by the number of citations an individual article accumulates. However, the time from publication to citation can be extensive. Years may pass before authors are able to measure the impact of their publication. Social media provides individuals and organizations a powerful medium with which to share information. The power of social media is sometimes harnessed to share scholarly works, especially journal article citations and quotes. A non?traditional bibliometric is required to understand the impact social media has on disseminating scholarly works/research. The International Journal of Mental Health Nursing (IJMHN) appointed a social media editor as of 1 January 2017 to implement a strategy to increase the impact and reach of the journal’s articles. To measure the impact of the IJMHN social media strategy, quantitative data for the eighteen months prior to the social media editor start date, and the eighteen months after that date (i.e.: from 01 July 2015 to 30 June 2018) were acquired and analysed. Quantitative evidence demonstrates the effectiveness of one journal’s social media strategy in increasing the reach and readership of the articles it publishes. This information may be of interest to those considering where to publish their research, those wanting to amplify the reach of their research, those who fund research, and journal editors and boards.

Have you just published? Help your paper sail far and wide – Ruffell – – FEBS Letters – Wiley Online Library

It is certainly the goal of every journal to give the papers it publishes the best possible visibility, and publishers have a number of strategies to achieve this. Nevertheless, as an Author you can boost the prominence of your paper by joining forces with the Publisher to ensure that your hard work receives all the attention that it deserves….”

Hashtag SciComm: How Social Media Platforms Are Shaping the Future of Science | PLOS Blogs Network

Established in 2006, Twitter is currently one of the most powerful social networking platforms for scientists across the world. In a 2014 survey by Nature, about 13% of scientists reported that they regularly use Twitter mainly to follow discussion on research-related issues [1]. I recently asked my Twitter followers to tell me the things they enjoy about ‘Science Twitter’ and/or the scientists they followed. After over a hundred responses primarily from scientists, the top two responses (> 35%) related to how scientists showcase their human side – their passion and struggles – and the sense of community established as a result. A recent study found that most followers of scientists on Twitter are scientists themselves [2], which is reflected in the responses I obtained. While this is great for certain aspects of science communication, it limits the power of outreaching to a wider community. However, the same study showed that the types of followers became more diverse as the number of followers increased beyond a certain threshold. While not every scientist has the interest or resources to achieve thousands of followers, there are certain ways in which scientists can improve their presence and experience in social media. Here are my top five tips on how to do this: …”

Can Twitter, Facebook, and Other Social Media Drive Downloads, Citations? – The Scholarly Kitchen

Even before the development of the Internet and social media tools, the association between media promotion and article performance was well documented.1234 What was not fully understood, however, was the underlying cause of this association. Editors and journalists tend to promote what they view as the most important and novel papers. As a result, it is difficult to disambiguate selection effects from dissemination and amplification effects, especially from uncontrolled observational studies. Likely, multiple effects operate in concert. If we want to isolate these effects, we need to rely on a more rigorous methodology–the randomized controlled trial….

While there are many studies exploring the relationships among indicators, most are methodologically weak and may suffer from confounding causes and effects. More rigorous trials, summarized above, report little, if any, effect between social media interventions and readership. Nevertheless, whereas social medical campaigns may have limited effect within the research and clinical community, they may provide other ancillary benefits to a journal, such as providing outreach to healthcare professionals, communicating directly with the general public, and increasing brand recognition.20 …”

Open+: Versioning Open Social Scholarship

Abstract:  Advocates of the Open Access (OA) movement have been fighting for free and unfettered access to research output since the early 1990s. Open access is a crucial element of a fair, efficient scholarly communication system where all are able to find, interpret, and use the results of publicly-funded research. Universal open access is more possible now than ever before, thanks to networked technologies and the development of open scholarship policies. But what happens after access to research is provided? In this paper I argue that versioning scholarship across varying modes and formats would move scholarly communication from a straightforward open access system to a more engaging environment for multiple communities.

[From the body of the paper:] “Here is my suggestion for simultaneously upholding important traditions of humanistic scholarship (e.g. peer review, long-form writing), as well as taking advantage of digital technologies, while committing to open scholarship as a de facto public good and ethical imperative of higher education: versioning. Ideas gain depth and traction as they are brought to light, discussed, reviewed, and refuted. This process of refinement is how we develop convincing arguments. Instead of thinking of “lowbrow” or opular communication mechanisms as outside of the scholarly communication process, or else as a public record or starting point for an idea, what if we considered multiple versions of an argument as equally important and requiring of our sustained effort and attention? The germ of any research output is the main argument or theory—what if that germ was sprouted in various venues and forms? One could simultaneously or sequentially publish a long-form argument via open access academic journal article; work with a journalist or writer colleague to explore the same argument in a more public, online venue—revised as appropriate for such a modality; post a truncated version of the argument on a personal blog as an easy referent; and create short, pithy social media encapsulations of the argument as well. Each mode of engagement will engender different reactions and feedback, as different audiences will collaborate and create knowledge at each interaction point (Arbuckle & Stewart 2017)….”