Category Archives: Social media

Thinking about social media data management…

Are you planning to use social media data for your research? If so, a recent talk by Ben Wills-Eve at Lancaster Data Conversations may interest you. Entitled ‘Social Media Data Management for Digital Humanities,’ Ben takes you through some of things you should have on your radar when using data from social media platforms like Twitter. Ethical use of data, adhering to data usage policies, copyright, data processing, access to data via APIs (application programming interfaces), data storage, coding/programming, are some of the areas Ben talked about. Before using data from Twitter, Facebook, or any other social media sites it is essential that you read and understand their policies first.

Attendees were signposted to some useful guidance, such as the Association of Internet Researchers (AoIR) documents on ethical internet research, and reference was made to an interesting paper on the challenges of using historical Twitter data, and deleted Tweets, ethically. The Programming Historian site may also be useful to explore. Not only are the tutorials free and Open Access, they could be just what you need to enhance digital skills you already have, or to learn new ones! The Beginner’s Guide to Twitter Data is an example of what they offer.

If you have any queries about your Data Management Plans, or want to find out more about the ethics of obtaining research data, please visit our Library Research Support website or get in touch with the team.


“Social media for scholarly communications and networking” training session

Social media for scholarly communications and networking-title slide

Me and Chris recently ran a training session entitled “Social media for scholarly communications and networking”.

It provided an introduction to how different social media platforms can be used in relation to research and scholarship,  focussing on dissemination, keeping up to date and networking.

We provided some tips and advice on effective use of social media,  used real-life examples as illustrations and got participants to reflect on their use of digital tools as a whole using the Visitors and Residents mapping exercise.

You can access the slides on Slideshare.

August ORO downloads – where is Open University research used?

This is the third and final post looking at the top downloads from ORO over the summer months.  Each post has used the lens of download counts to look at a different benefit ORO offers the University – this post looks at the various places OU research is used.

Creating reports on downloads of Open University research papers deposited in ORO gives me the opportunity to see where OU research papers are being linked from and referenced, aside from being cited in the scholarly literature.  So looking purely at the top 50 downloads from August, and that’s a relatively arbitrary starting point, where do you find OU research?


At least 4 research papers in the August top 50 downloads are referenced in Wikipedia:

Doherty, Neil F. and Ellis-Chadwick, Fiona (2010). Internet retailing: the past, the present and the future. International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, 38(11/12) pp. 943–965.

7th in the top 50 is referenced in the page on Retail Leakage

Karakas, Fahri (2010). Spirituality and performance in organizations: a literature review. Journal of Business Ethics, 94(1) pp. 89–106.

14th in the top 50 is referenced in the page on Meditation

Boulstridge, Emma and Carrigan, Marylyn (2000). Do consumers really care about corporate responsibility? Highlighting the attitude-behaviour gap. Journal of Communication Management, 4(4) pp. 355–368.

25th in the top 50 is referenced in the page on Value-action gap

Herring, Horace and Roy, Robin (2007). Technological innovation, energy efficient design and the rebound effect. Technovation, 27(4) pp. 194–203.

28th in the top 50 is referenced in the page on the Rebound effect in conservation.

These references go back to the published version of the paper rather than the open access version in ORO.

Open University Teaching

I’ve blogged before how repository Open Access content make good bedfellows for online teaching (especially Open education).  In the August list we see one paper Wiles, Fran (2013). ‘Not easily put into a box’: constructing professional identity. Social Work Education, 32(7) pp. 854–86  (joint 21st in the top 50 downloads) is being linked to from the OU module K315 Critical Social Work Practice:

Non OU Teaching

In the August list we also see several papers that are being referenced in non-OU teaching materials, both in the UK and globally.  Unfortunately I can’t get beyond the institutional authentication to see how they are referenced, but the papers are showing referrals from each of the institutional domains.

Faulkner, Dorothy and Coates, Elizabeth A. (2013). Early childhood policy and practice in England: twenty years of change.International Journal of Early Years Education, 21(2/3) pp. 244–263.

is 19th in the top 50 downloads and is being used by Bolton University in an online module.

Winters, Ben (2010). The non-diegetic fallacy: film, music, and narrative space. Music & Letters, 91(2) pp. 224–244.

is joint 21st in the top 50 downloads and is being used by Southampton Solent in an online unit on Film Music.

Keeley, Vaughan; Crooks, Sue; Locke, Jane; Veigas, Debbie; Riches, Katie and Hilliam, Rachel (2010). A quality of life measure for limb lymphoedema (LYMQOL). Journal of Lymphoedema, 5(1) pp. 26–37.

is 42nd in the top 50 downloads and is being used in an online course by The University of Victoria in Canada.

Roy, Robin (1993). Case studies of creativity in innovative product development. Design Studies, 14(4) pp. 423–443.

is 15th in the top 50 downloads and is referenced in the University of British Columbia Engineering Physics Project Lab.

Policy Documents

4 papers in the August top 50 most downloaded appear in policy documents.

Dorst, Kees and Cross, Nigel (2001). Creativity in the design process: co-evolution of problem–solution. Design Studies, 22(5) pp. 425–437.

is 18th in the top 50 and is referenced in: Research, development and innovation: the case of social housing in Mt Druitt, NSW.

Slade, Sharon and Prinsloo, Paul (2013). Learning analytics: ethical issues and dilemmas. American Behavioral Scientist, 57(10) pp. 1509–1528.

is 23rd in the top 50 and is referenced in: Visions for Australian tertiary educationLearning and teaching technology options – EU Law and Publications and Research evidence on the use of learning analytics – EU Law and Publications.

Ferguson, Rebecca (2012). Learning analytics: drivers, developments and challenges. International Journal of Technology Enhanced Learning, 4(5/6) pp. 304–317.

is 8th in the top 50 and is also referenced in Research evidence on the use of learning analytics – EU Law and Publications.

Cross, Nigel (2001). Designerly ways of knowing: design discipline versus design science. Design Issues, 17(3) pp. 49–55.

is 5th in the top 50 and is referenced in Frontiers of Engineering: Reports on Leading-Edge Engineering from the 2011 Symposium.

Social Media

I often write how Open Access research is picked up in the social media.  In the August top 50 we also see evidence of papers referenced in the social media:

Sharples, Mike (2013). Mobile learning: research, practice and challenges. Distance Education in China, 3(5) pp. 5–11. 

is 31st in the top 50 and is referenced in Eric Stoller’s blogpost on How Mobile Technologies are Changing Higher Education

Kirkwood, Adrian and Price, Linda (2014). Technology-enhanced learning and teaching in higher education: what is ‘enhanced’ and how do we know? A critical literature review. Learning, Media and Technology, 39(1) pp. 6–36.

is 10th in the top 50 and has had 33 tweets from 30 users in Twitter and is also subject to this post on reddit

Collective action

Buckingham, David; Willett, Rebekah; Bragg, Sara and Russell, Rachel (2010). Sexualised goods aimed at children: a report to the Scottish Parliament Equal Opportunities Committee. Scottish Parliament Equal Opportunities Committee, Edinburgh, UK.

is joint 31st in the top 50 downloads and is listed in the resources for Collective Shout “a grassroots campaigns movement against the objectification of women and the sexualisation of girls.”

…and finally

Lim, Sungwoo and Anand, Mahesh (2015). In-Situ Resource Utilisation (ISRU) derived extra-terrestrial construction processes using sintering-based additive manufacturing techniques – focusing on a lunar surface environment. In: European Lunar Symposium (ELS) 2015, 13-14 May 2015, Frascati, Italy.

is 13th in the top 50 and is referenced in the Monero Moon Prize, where a “prize of 10,000 Monero (XMR) will be awarded to the first team or individual who operates a 3D printer on the Moon” – apparently that’s around USD $1.3 Million!

Full August list:

Social media for scholarly communications and networking

Social media for scholarly communications and networking-January 2017

David, Dan and I recently ran a training session on Social media for scholarly communications and networking for first year PhD students.

Our aim was to give an introduction to the kinds of social media tools and techniques available, look at what can be achieved with them, and how you can tailor your approach to get the most out of them while avoiding potential pitfalls. We also wanted to give attendees a chance to reflect on their current use of social media, and to think about how they might use it in future, using a couple of UX activities.

The session was informed by Mark Carrigan’s Social Media for Academics and talked about how factors such as how much time you have, whether you want to collaborate or work individually, and whether a task is intrinsically or extrinsically motivated, will contribute to how you use social media.

We then went on to talk about several sites and tools as examples of what’s out there, some key features of them, and how others are using them.  Promoting your own work and actively encouraging interaction and networking can require different ways of presentation and engagement.  If one of the aims of using social media is to grow your network, or audience, then it’s good to find out more about people you want to be part of that network – this may take some fine-tuning.  It’s also important to consider how a new audience might want, or be able, to understand you and your work – are there barriers of understanding and access that you can mitigate by providing different versions or summaries of your work?  Can you make sure your work is understandable and accessible to those without the background knowledge and or subscriptions to academic publications?  Open Access and social media seem natural bedfellows.

Pulling all of this together we saw some examples from ORO where promotion and interaction with social media, using methods like featuring links and images, can lead to increased impact and reach of work.

Lastly, we talked about the risks of using social media, and the potential down-sides in terms of reputation, potential for plagiarism, and sometimes just making sure you are not misunderstood in a medium where nuanced expression and debate can be hard to achieve!

UX activities: Visitors and Residents & Card Sort

Our first UX activity kicked off the session and served as a really good ice-breaker.  David started by introducing the concept of Visitors and Residents, as described by David S. White and Alison Le Cornu.  It asks us to think about how we use and engage with aspects of the online world in different ways, depending on what we want to achieve, and whether – and how much – we wish to interact with others and/or leave a digital trace.  The idea is to place our activities on a scale of engagement for each tool or task, so there is no absolute status as a Visitor or Resident (or right or wrong way to engage). We asked attendees to draw their own their own activity maps on the Visitors/Residents scale, and also on a scale of personal or institutional use.

Here’s mine (Chris)



My map was influenced by some online activities I had done over the previous couple of days – so felt it was a bit skewed – but I took some delight in relegating Facebook to the furthest corner!  Moreover, there were aspects (e.g. banking & shopping) that I completely overlooked – so I think some bits of online life are so ingrained I’m not consciously aware of them being online!

And here’s Dan’s


“Having recently joined the OU from another university I found myself thinking about tools that were relevant in one environment but perhaps not in another, or that I might use differently in a new context.  I guess this goes to show that behaviour can change and we can adapt usage to new situations.  On reflection, I also think I miss-mapped a few things, which all suggests I should probably do it again in a couple of months and compare the two maps” – Dan.

After the session we collated the results of the visitors/residents exercise in a wordle to find the most popular services.


Unsurprisingly, Google looms large, as does email, Facebook and Twitter. But there were a couple of things that stood out.  One is identifying tools that we can develop training and support for, such as Linked-in, which many of the group were using. Another is that YouTube is also very popular, for both institutional and personal use, so we might do more to provide support material in video format on that platform?

The relative popularity of general social media (Twitter, Facebook, etc) over more academic-focused systems (ResearchGate, and ORCiD) wasn’t surprising, given that the attendees are relatively new to their research careers, but it was interesting to see that in our group ResearchGate was noticeably more popular than

It was also evident that people tended towards the visitor side of the spectrum rather than the resident side.  Maybe that’s accurate or maybe the attendees were a bit modest.

We concluded the session with a second UX exercise, a card sort.  Groups discussed and ordered a set of cards featuring types of information we might be comfortable sharing on social media, from our thoughts on the current political situation to fully-formed academic outputs.


The card sorting exercise led to interesting discussions about what is appropriate to share, on which platform to which audience?  There are things we would happily share for example on Facebook with our friends and family that we wouldn’t share with our peers, which added an extra dimension.  Are you interested in the music someone you follow is listening to or are you only interested in new papers in your field?  Perhaps people respond more to a three dimensional profile on social media?

We hope everyone had a good introduction to the topic and saw that traditional methods of scholarly communication and networking can be augmented, complemented and in some cases substituted by social media.  The questions and contributions to discussions throughout were very welcome, so thanks to everyone who came and took part.  If you are interested in us running the session for you and your colleagues get in touch!

Slides: Social media for scholarly communications and networking-January 2017

The Secret Life of Repository Downloads

The download data of Open Access content in ORO can tell some fascinating stories, the counts from December and January are no exception… it really is amazing what you can discover with a bit of digging!

The first one that jumped out at me from the December list is a journal item published back in 2002 by Dr Sara Haslam in FASS:

Haslam, Sara (2002). Written in blood: Family, sex and violence in Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre. The English Review, 13(1) pp. 8–11.

A “steady performer” that averages between 20 to 30 downloads a month.  But December and January saw a spike in downloads with 100 in December and 124 in January which saw it reach the top 50 list (see below).  Looking at the referrals I noticed a large amount coming from, or OpenLearn to you and me.  A quick search found this page, which had a link to the ORO page for the article.


Sara was the academic consultant on the OU/BBC co-production “To Walk Invisible” and this was one of the OpenLearn pages supporting the programme – which is great connecting ORO and OpenLearn – how joined up!

Looking at Google analytics to see how many hits the ORO page got from OpenLearn tells us the ORO page was visited 251 times in the week immediately following broadcast (29th December to January 4th).  The actual PDF of the article was downloaded 115 times.  So, roughly, half the visitors coming to ORO from OpenLearn, were interested enough to download the paper!

Mapping the site visits and downloads of the paper gives us this graph. WalkInvisible










The graph shows that the greatest spike came immediately after broadcast of the programme.  But there is a tail of site visits and downloads that coincide with the availability of the programme on iPlayer.  It’s a great example of connecting Open Learning and Open Research.

The second story comes from the January downloads and relates to a paper co-authored by Dr Mathijs Lucassen in WELS:

Fleming, Theresa M.; Bavin, Lynda; Stasiak, Karolina; Hermansson-Webb, Eve; Merry, Sally N.; Cheek, Colleen; Lucassen, Mathijs; Lau, Ho Ming; Pollmuller, Britta and Hetrick, Sarah (2017). Serious Games and Gamification for Mental Health: Current Status and Promising Directions. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 7, article no. 215.

This one went through the roof, with 604 downloads in January making it the second most downloaded item in January (full top 50 below).  It was added to ORO on the 10th January and almost immediately picked up in twitter by @andi_staub.

The download pattern show a remarkable a correlation between that tweet and the number of ORO downloads for that article.


Initially I was suspicious that a single tweet could have that impact, even though it did get plenty of likes and retweets.  But Andreas Staub is apparently a Top 20 influencer in the world of FinTech.  FinTech (Wikipedia told me) “is an industry composed of companies that use new technology and innovation with available resources in order to compete in the marketplace of traditional financial institutions and intermediaries in the delivery of financial services” and got $19.1 bn funding in 2015

So why might a FinTech influencer be interested in this research?  Mathijs gave me some lowdown:

People do seem very interested in serious gaming in mental health…I wonder if it is because people are aware of the addictive potential of commercial games, so they wonder how can a game be therapy?  There are some really interesting ones out there (in addition to SPARX – I was a co-developer – Professor Sally Merry has led this work), like “Journey to the Wild Divine” a ‘freeze-framer’ game based on bio-feedback in a fantasy setting. The program is a mind and body training program, and uses biofeedback hardware (e.g. a user’s heart rate) along with highly specialised gaming software to assist in mindfulness and meditation training (e.g. a user has to learn to control their body in certain ways in order to progress through the game)…Plus programs like “Virtual Iraq” (to assist service men and women with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder with their recovery).

There was one other thing about the downloads for this paper.  It was published in an Open Access journal so I’d have expected most downloads to come from the journal site. But the majority of downloads (at least in January following this tweet) were from ORO.


Which indicates to me that Institutional Repositories can be as good as any other platform, whether they are publisher platforms or commercial academic social networking sites, to disseminate your research. Full Top 5o lists for downloads are below: 2016-12-monthly_downloads 2017-01-monthly_downloads

Social Media, Open Access and the Institutional Repository

The impact of engaging with social media in conjunction with Open Access papers in a repository is not new and was perhaps first illustrated by Melissa Terras back in 2012 in her blog post Is blogging and tweeting about research papers worth it? The Verdict where she writes:

The papers that were tweeted and blogged had at least more than 11 times the number of downloads than their sibling paper which was left to its own devices in the institutional repository. QED, my friends. QED.”

When I review the top downloads of publications in ORO every month I see papers that have received more downloads than usual and I can attempt to see why that might be. Some months we can see how the presence of research outputs in MOOCs or OU modules increases the number of downloads of research publications.  But this month there are 2 striking examples of how social media impacts the dissemination of research publications.

The top 50 downloads from August are listed below:


The first output that interested me was at Number 6: Ferguson, Rebecca; Coughlan, Tim and Herodotou, Christothea (2016). MOOCS: What The Open University research tells us. Institute of Educational Technology, The Open University, Milton Keynes.  This received 305 downloads and had only been added to the repository on the 12th August this year.  First analysis revealed that 12% of referrals in August were from Twitter and another 12% from Facebook (33% were internal ORO referrals and another 19% were from Google).  So something had happened on Twitter and Facebook that helped cause a spike in downloads of the item.

So, the first trace of twitter activity was from Rebecca Ferguson (@R3beccaF) herself on 12th August:

This was followed by another tweet by Gabriel Dumouchel (@gdumouchel) on the 18th August:

A blogpost by Willem van Valkenburg was also published on the same day


and a Facebook post by Hubert Lalande on the 19th: 46970Facebook Finally, there was a tweet on 13th September by MOOC Knowledge (@MOOCknow):

And if you map that activity against the daily download log, this is what you get:


The second item to grab my attention was at Number 12: Gray, Joshua; Franqueira, Virginia N. L. and Yu, Yijun (2016). Forensically-Sound Analysis of Security Risks of using Local Password Managers. In: 1st International Workshop on Requirements Engineering for Investigating and Countering Crime, 13 September 2016, Beijing, IEEE. This had been added to ORO on the 26th July and received 200 downloads during August.  The referrals were even more intriguing as nearly half (48%) were from Twitter (a further 18% were internal and 11% were from Google)… so to the twitter trail.

On 13th August the ORO record was tweeted by K.M.Gallagher (@ageis):

Followed on the 15th by Brandon Smith (@muckrakery) with a response from Julia Angwin (@JuliaAngwin)

It was also posted on EventRegistry on 23rd August:

46871EventRegistry Finally, it was tweeted by the conference organiser (@iRENIC_workshop) as Best Long paper (but with no link!)

and if you map all that activity onto the daily downloads this is what you get:

PASSWORDMANAGERSTIMELINE OK, so my trawl through the social media isn’t exhaustive – I’m sure there are activities I’ve missed, but I think it’s still instructive:

  • Using social media can have an enormous impact on the reach of an Open Access publication
  • The greatest dissemination of a research output may not be the result of an author (or co-authors) intervention in social media – but someone completely off the radar.
  • Twitter and Facebook usage can both impact on the reach of any particular research output, they aren’t mutually exclusive and both serve the required function.
  • Not all tweets are equal, some are more valuable than others.
  • and always add a link to the paper!

Finally, looking at the tweets and posts I was struck at how those that had the most impact on downloads were also the most eye-catching.  These were tweets with photos of the abstract of the conference item or posts with the cover of the MOOC report.  The images certainly makes them stand out in the timeline and there is some thinking to suggest tweets with images and links are more likely to get noticed.

Research Data: Working with Social Media

preserving social media coverIs your research based around the measurement of public opinion? Are you interested in changing social attitudes? If you’re thinking of using content from social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn as key sources of research data then you may want to read a recently published Technology Watch Report from the Digital Preservation Coalition on “Preserving Social Media”.

Published in February this year, the report throws interesting light onto issues of archiving and preservation of social media content for social research, and shows how research is helping unpick the technical and legal difficulties associated with this very new area of study. I summarise some of the key points below, but if your research might use content from social media, it’s worth reading the original.

Ethical Issues

Traditional social research involving human participants takes great care over obtaining their consent, but most users of social media platforms tick away the ownership of their personal data without much thought. Social media archives use data owned by corporations, but created by end users with little power in the social media ecosystem.

Accidental disclosure of personal information is made more likely by the interlinked big datasets of modern social media platforms. Researchers will have to work even harder to protect “the right to be forgotten”.

Commerce vs Public Good

Most social research is conducted for the public good. Social media runs on a commercial model and therefore treats data as a commercial asset rather than a public good. Social media platforms sell data to businesses to measure current trends and behaviours; they are not interested in the long term value of their data, a key area of interest to social research. This difference in approach affects the ways in which they make their data available and the controls they place on its further use; researchers are prohibited from sharing raw data, or publishing it except in small non-machine readable datasets. Some large archives store the raw data, and provide access to a few researchers whilst negotiating with data owners for future relaxation of controls.

Worryingly, many platforms do not have an internal preservation policy; of all the major social media platforms, only Twitter has allowed the Library of Congress to archive its entire collection of tweets. It has not yet allowed free access to that archive.

Transient Big Data

The multi-platformed, linked nature of social media data makes it hard to select those data for preservation or storage. A tweet for instance contains up to 140 characters with images, shortened URLs and embedded links to other social media content. In order for a researcher to derive meaning from that content at a later date, there has to be some context stored with the data. Geolocation data, hashtags, keywords, timestamps, can all help preserve context and give meaning to a specific collection.

The huge volumes of data generated by social media mean storage can be a problem, especially as current EU legislation restricts the use of cloud storage to EU locations. Meaningful access by future researchers to vast data collections depends upon the development of robust database architectures that can cope with natural language queries like “Donald Trump” or “2013 Bundestag”, without taking a year to run the query. Early database designs in this are use pre-filtering by timestamp, or hashtag to improve responsiveness.

To preserve meaning and context within social media, data need to be prepared for archiving, linking back to longer versions of shortened URLS, and to archived versions of sites mentioned in social media. One case study mentioned by the author has successfully automated those two parts of data preparation to reduce costs.

Data Management Solutions

The case studies referenced within this report show that there are many tools and technologies already developed, or under development to help deal with both the archiving, and the managed access to the huge datasets that can be created by data harvesting. In a very new and rapidly evolving area of research, it is heartening to read the progress that many public research organisations have already made, not just in terms of technology, but in the management of data, and management of access to data.

The report advocates the creation of centralised storage under the auspices of a specialist national agency to deal with issues of quality and long term access, and calls for greater collaboration between agencies working in this area.

October top downloads from ORO, referrals and social media

Top 15 Downloads for October are below – some are regulars but some new ones tell a story!


During Open Access week I was asked which social media channels drive traffic to ORO the most.  I rather dismissively said that the majority of traffic comes directly from Google and that because traffic from social media was relatively small it was barely worth the analysis.  And I think generally that is true, looking at October 64,760 ORO hits were directed from Google with 480 from Facebook and 208 from Twitter – so on the face of it it’s not a bad assumption.


However, when I looked a bit more closely at the top 15 there are illuminating exceptions.

Tony Coughlan and Leigh-Anne Perryman’s paper Are student-led Facebook groups open educational practices? received 312 downloads in October.  This traffic is almost entirely driven by Facebook – which maybe isn’t a surprise given the content of the paper! 




92% of all traffic came from Facebook and only 1% from Google which is a staggering reversal of the general referral pattern.  Indeed this one ORO item had 215 referrals from Facebook which accounts for 45% of all traffic coming from Facebook in October!

Tony created a post about the paper back in August – but something happened in Facebook sometime in October which led to the tremendous spike in downloads in October – unfortunately I haven’t been able to trace what that was….


Secondly, Inge de Waard’s MOOC factors influencing teachers in formal education received 301 downloads in October.  The breakdown of referrals is a bit more orthodox.

MOOC factors



Google is the biggest referrer, but what is interesting is the traffic driven from The paper was scooped and re-scooped by several different users of the service.

The other interesting thing about this one was that the majority of downloads (118) came from the US compared to 9 from the UK – which is another reversal from the general trend – 21,989 from the UK in October compared to 11,829 from the US. But the journal is Mexican and there is also a Spanish version of the paper in ORO so the paper may especially be relevant to an American audience.

In total this item had 23 referrals from in October, ORO in total had just 25 referrals.  So this item alone accounts for 92% of all referrals from


So what does this mean, if anything?

  • General patterns of ORO traffic hide very interesting individual cases.
  • Patterns of traffic (e.g. geo-location or social media channels) may well reflect the content of the research output.
  • In individual cases using social media to promote research outputs makes an enormous difference to the dissemination of a research output.


October Top 15 PDF: OctoberTop15

Open Access Week – Academic Social Networking Sites

On Monday Katy Jordan from IET gave a talk on Academic Social Networking Sites (SNS) as part of Open Access Week.  Katy is currently a postgraduate student and her provisional thesis title is Reshaping the Higher Education network? Analysis of academic social networking sites, so she was a natural choice to ask!

As the ORO manager I’m often asked how sites like ResearchGate and interact with the institutional repository, so I was a little anxious as to the implications for ORO from Katy’s research.  But Katy’s talk was actually a resounding re-affirmation of the case for the Institutional Repository.

Katy presented a diagram in her presentation where ORO sits alongside and complements both Twitter and Academic SNS.jordantriangle

  • ORO was the host of self archived research publications
  • Twitter was for discussions and building new networks
  • Academic SNS were ‘a portable business card’

Katy’s talk was both wide ranging and engaging, other themes I found particularly pertinent were:

  • Interventions by Academic SNS into publishing services such as peer review and minting DOIs appear to be a challenge to existing models of scholarly communication.
  • Academic SNS seem to replicate existing networks rather than creating new ones.
  • Academic profiles are already out there so you shouldn’t ignore them but actively curate them.
  • There is a disciplinary divide where ResearchGate is more sciences based and more Arts and Humanities.
  • Academic SNS are commercial enterprises – but revenue generation will not occur until the network is strong enough.

Katy’s presentation is available here:

Thanks again to Katy for a fascinating talk.