How Are Scientists Using Social Media in the Workplace?

Last modified: 
December 13, 2019 - 9:41pm
Type: Journal Article
Year of publication: 2016
Date published: 10/2016
Authors: Kimberley Collins, David Shiffman, Jenny Rock
Journal title: PLOS ONE
Volume: 11
Issue: 10
Pages: e0162680

Social media has created networked communication channels that facilitate interactions and allow information to proliferate within professional academic communities as well as in informal social circumstances. A significant contemporary discussion in the field of science communication is how scientists are using (or might use) social media to communicate their research. This includes the role of social media in facilitating the exchange of knowledge internally within and among scientific communities, as well as externally for outreach to engage the public. This study investigates how a surveyed sample of 587 scientists from a variety of academic disciplines, but predominantly the academic life sciences, use social media to communicate internally and externally. Our results demonstrate that while social media usage has yet to be widely adopted, scientists in a variety of disciplines use these platforms to exchange scientific knowledge, generally via either Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or blogs. Despite the low frequency of use, our work evidences that scientists perceive numerous potential advantages to using social media in the workplace. Our data provides a baseline from which to assess future trends in social media use within the science academy.

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