“Increase your research impact” – the gap between policy and practice for academics’ twitter use.

Year: 2018

Author: Heffernan, Amanda

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

“Increase your visibility. Make your publications accessible. Get the most out of your online profile. Increase the visibility of your research. Maximise your profile in the research community. Extend your reputation. Grow your network. Get greater impact.”
Universities appear to give relatively universal advice to their academics when it comes to joining and using twitter. They give out a lot of promises. It will grow your brand! It will help you get noticed! It will make you a better researcher, you’ll be more competitive, you’ll be better known!
Judging by an examination of Australian universities’ websites, the advice is not only generic, it is sparse. It’s almost characterised by a lack of specific detail about how to successfully navigate twitter as an academic. On the rare occasions that a university has provided more detail, it’s attributed to a name that I recognise from twitter. These institutions were able to draw upon knowledge from someone ‘in the know’, to the advantage of their academics.
This paper sets forth a research agenda. As part of a collaboration with academics I met on twitter, the project will explore what appears to be a gulf between the sparse advice given by universities, the idealised twitter experience - tweet out your research, get noticed, get cited! - and what actually happens for academics when they tweet.