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Altmetrics, ‘Altmetric,’ and Science Communication

29 Nov

Science Communication Breakdown

Photo credit: Todd Eddy. Shared under a Creative Commons license. Click for more info. Photo credit: Todd Eddy. Shared under a Creative Commons license. Click for more info.

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Iara Vidal, a Ph.D. student based in Brazil whose work focuses on altmetrics and scholarly communication. If you’re curious about altmetrics, or how they may be relevant to science communication, read on.

Being overwhelmed by information is not a new phenomenon, but it is a very real problem. We struggle to keep up to date with all the discoveries, papers, and books in our fields of interest. It often seems as though new fields of study, methods, and/or tools are created every month. Buzzwords are all around, and it can be hard to know if there’s anything useful behind the buzz.

One of these buzzwords is altmetrics.

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Tweetable science posters

9 Jun

teabreak wildlife news

Twitter is a fantastic place to share research, express opinions, and connect with others in the same field of research. This week on Twitter, I came across an image that was a hybrid between a science poster and an infographic. In four bullet points, a few photos and a couple of graphs, this ‘tweetable poster’, which is also known as a ‘graphical abstract’, revealed that scientists who had combined long-term monitoring data on the seasonality of nesting effort with a ground-based survey covering 585 km, had discovered that Gabon hosts the largest rookery of olive ridley turtles (Lepidochelys olivacea) in the Atlantic and that a significant proportion of nesting effort occurs inside Gabon’s extensive network of coastal protected areas.

Tweetable science poster of olive ridley research Presenting paper abstracts graphically in a tweetable science poster allows scientists to share their research in an interesting way to a wider audience. Metcalfe, K. et al, 2015. Going…

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To tweet or not to tweet…at conferences

20 Jan

The Contemplative Mammoth

Live-tweeting, whether a department seminar or a conference talk, is one of the most powerful aspects of academic Twitter I’ve witnessed. It’s not an easy skill, but it’s worth cultivating, because it has tremendous value in bringing exciting research to a broad audience. Instead of the twenty to two hundred people in the room, you have the potential to reach thousands, and generate exciting conversations — what I often refer to as the “meeting within the meeting” that only takes place in the ether.

Live-tweeting also helps me focus more — I personally get more out of talks I tweet than ones I don’t. I sometimes refer to it as my superpower, because I have a special knack for distilling a talk into 140-character sound bites, and a high WPM to match. Live-tweeting usually gets me a handful of new followers, too, which is a good indication that folks are finding the…

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We need clear policy on tweeting from academic conferences

11 Nov

Discussion long overdue apparently. Nice comments!

Sauropod Vertebra Picture of the Week

When Susie Maidment presented her in-progress research at SVP in Berlin last week, someone came in late, missed her “no tweeting, please” request, and posted a screenshot of the new work (since deleted).

On the back of that, Susie started an interesting thread in which it became apparent that people have very different assumptions. She, and Marc Jones, and others, were assuming that if you don’t tell people not to tweet, then they’ll know not to. Meanwhile, I, and Björn Brembs, and others were assuming the opposite: unless someone says not to tweet, you’re good to go.

Obviously this state of affairs is a recipe for disaster.  We’re all going to find ourselves giving presentations where we assume the audience will be doing one thing, but at least some audience members are assuming the other.

So the first thing to say is that we should be explicit about our…

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Not sure if you want to blog? Easy, just join The Conversation.

17 Okt

The Online Academic

Guest blogging and go-for-it blogging.

There are many many many blog spaces for professionals to ‘guest’ blog but you often have to be ‘invited’ by the editor of big well-established journal, perhaps once you’ve been blogging for a while you might be asked to contribute but until then… This is where The Conversation comes up trumps for you: The Conversation is a website written by professionals like you for the public audience. You write and send in your piece and professional perspective on current world topics. These news-style pieces are edited and published with clear indication of the author and their affiliations.

The Conversation is an excellent webspace that is gaining momentum and respect and I would recommend proposing a piece about something you are passionate about in your field/subject, there are many to choose from (see lower purple line in picture below), and then click to ‘become an author’ (upper purple arrow) . Screen_Shot_2014-10-16_at_15_52_47

You…

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Cascades and Volcanoes — Are the Problems of Science in Public Discourse Getting Worse?

26 Sep

PLOS: Ten Simple Rules of Live Tweeting at Scientific Conferences

31 Aug

The power of mobile communications has increased dramatically in recent years such that these devices (smartphone or tablet computer) can be used productively to do science. The software applications installed on them do not necessarily have to be specialized to be useful for science, e.g., Evernote can be used as an electronic lab notebook. Twitter is a popular microblogging platform famously limited to messages of up to 140 characters and represents a simple way to express what’s on your mind to a global audience of followers. Twitter has useful real-world scientific applications, such as in disease surveillance enabling the tracking of disease pandemics, as well as the capacity to be used for the communication of science itself. Like other professionals, scientists are increasingly tweeting about their own research and the work of colleagues and sharing links to scholarly publications, laboratory results, and related scientific content such as molecular structures. Twitter can additionally serve as a catalyst in the development of scientific tools, with at least one mobile app for science coming directly out of a tweet at a scientific conference.

Read the whole editorial on PLOS Computational Biology