Schools Training

Twitter journal: would you share your original research on social media?

28 JAN 2014

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Last week, I received a tweet from @janremm who was midway through a conversation – on Twitter – about how to cite tweets within academicresearch. She was talking with @jotaigna, who asked in what way a tweet could be a valuable source to support a (scientific) argument. I think it’s fair to say he was sceptical.

But why couldn’t this be possible? I haven’t done it before, but I have used tweets as sources. I wrote something on tweeting the Olympics last year, referencing the case of Tom Daley’s Twitter troll. A crucial element of my argument was that, had Tom not retweeted the abuse he received, it would not have made headline news. In this case, citing the tweet in my work made perfect sense, but I was not using it as an academic source, just as data.

This latest debate stemmed from @janremm tweeting newly published guidelines from the Modern Language Association on how to cite a tweet. This organisation wasn’t the first to define its Twitter citation standards and there is not yet one universally accepted method, but the fact thatacademics are citing tweets at all says something about publishing and the public sphere.

I wonder what would have happened had Einstein tweeted E=mc2 or Rosalind Franklin had first shared her presentation of DNA on Slideshare. Would she have received more credit for her contribution? Would she have been more able to protect her intellectual property? Would the world have been a better place for her work getting out there before the publisher could turn it around?

 

Read full article: The Guardian