Review: How the Scientific Community Reacts to Newly Submitted Preprints

The 22nd meeting of the astronomy twitter journal club focused on an intriguing question: “Does tweeting really help get a paper more citations?” The discussion was loosely based on a recent paper, How the Scientific Community Reacts to Newly Submitted Preprints: Article Downloads, Twitter Mentions, and Citations by Shuai et al. (2012).

Read the preview of the meeting here, and there’s also a full transcript of tweets too.

The discussion started with a simple question – do you tweet about your own papers?

when they go on arXiv, yes. – @augustmuench 



No, I never have but had never really considered doing so – @wikimir



I tweet about my papers, but then @galaxyzoo papers generally have a wider interested audience than others..? – @KarenLMasters 



I haven’t but I think I may in the future! 🙂 – @evanocathain 



I find Twitter good for seeing papers from other fields that I might have missed, via summaries from @Awesome_Ph for example – @astronomyjc

I have not yet tweeted about my own papers, but I probably would. I also tweet about friends’ papers. – @ Awesome_Ph

…I tend to tweet about my papers, with no discernible impact. – @mike_peel

Perhaps tweeting about papers suggests them as good for journal club discussion which would reach wider audience and so on? – @KarenLMasters

Could tweeting lead to more citations?

The paper finds a correlation between twitter mentions, downloads and citations I can see the link between tweets & downloads but I’m not sure that’d necessarily translate into citations in many astro fields – @astronomyjc 



Tweeting is a great way to reach a lot of people, but not necessarily reaching people in your direct field of research – @astronomyjc 



yeah, but any extra exposure could turn into citations. You never know – and there’s lots of papers these days… – @KarenLMasters

but that’s good! i want new people to read my work – not people who would read it anyway. – @evanocathain

I think (not just social) media coverage in principle gives a fair view of the ‘sexyness’ of research, not necessarily of quality.. – @ Awesome_Ph

I think I’d never considered twitter for discussing the details of a particular paper (apart from ) – more suited to broader disc. – @wikimir

I think that’s often how I use it – recommending blogs, links, stories -why not papers too? – @KarenLMasters

Other options for keeping up with recent papers

I check the arXiv every morning so I generally see new papers in my field there, not on twitter – @astronomyjc

did you know there is a twitter service for the arxiv? – @KarenLMasters

Just found @orbitingfrog made a “Arxiv on Twitter” webpage: http://t.co/v3hpyBdR@KarenLMasters

More from @orbitingfrog on his tweprint service: http://t.co/pqOwtv07@KarenLMasters

Found @arxivblog which tweets physics papers. – @KarenLMasters

I have an experiment ongoing looking for links to ads papers on Twitter – @doug_burke

That twitter arxiv automatic tweet service I mentioned is @AstroPHYPapers@KarenLMasters

How many of you actually read papers because of twitter? – @Awesome_Ph

I read the paper this whole discussion is based on because of twitter 🙂 – @astronomyjc

I will sometimes read via twitter. I also check the arxiv separately. – @KarenLMasters

Have any of you cited a paper after seeing it on twitter? i.e. One that you wouldn’t otherwise have cited?

No, but it’s never been suitable. Not enough tweeters in my area that I’m aware of. – @wikimir

what @wikimir said re citing. too small of an echo chamber. still there are lots of things I “cite” because of twitter — ow mass star formation papers not so much… – @augustmuench

Only at the moment. In 5 yrs who knows? RT @augustmuench @_atjc what @wikimir said re citing. too small of an echo chamber. – @StephenSerjeant

Tweeting from the arXiv?

need to get arxiv to put a twitter button in their collection on bottom right – has Facebook and Linkedin already… – @KarenLMasters

And a “like” button. But I also want a “why did you bother doing this?” button 😉 – @StephenSerjeant

perhaps if not mentioned/cited you do get the message! – @KarenLMasters

How about http://t.co/lgAMhhbJ? RT @astronomyjc I’m not sure there’s a symbol to represent ‘why did you bother?’ 🙂 – @StephenSerjeant

And finally…

Apparently, the way to get more traffic for your paper is to name it something awesome like “MCMC Hammer” – @dalcantonJD

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