Scholarly Communication Via Social Media

This project is supported by Hollowell funding at Simmons College.

Chaoqun Ni Research

Assistant Professor Chaoqun Ni analyzes the exchange of information in the Computer Science field.

Computer science is a rapidly evolving discipline. Understanding how different areas of computer science develop, evolve, and interact with each other is critical for knowledge creation and resource allocation in the field. Existing studies on the disciplinary structure of computer science largely rely on bibliographic data (mostly conference proceedings), which limits the analyses to published documents (and authors) and neglects the possible communication among disciplines outside of publication procedure. As demonstrated by previous studies, the existence of the “invisible college” and informal communication within it plays a critical role in discipline development. 

In recent years, the use of microblogging applications (e.g. Twitter) has become increasingly commonplace in scholarly communication, and computer science is one of the disciplines that utilize social media for scholarly activities. This project analyzes the interaction among different areas of computer science by examining the communication among Twitter users, focusing on their tweeting at Computer Science conferences, of which there were approximately 2,000 in the last year. Additionally, the interaction among areas of computer science based on social media is compared with that based on bibliographic data.

Figure 1: Interaction among areas of computer science based on Twitter user activities.