, Volume 101, Issue 2, pp 1027-1042

First online:

Disciplinary differences in Twitter scholarly communication

  • Kim HolmbergAffiliated withDepartment of Mathematics and Computer Science, University of Wolverhampton Email author 
  • , Mike ThelwallAffiliated withDepartment of Mathematics and Computer Science, University of Wolverhampton

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This paper investigates disciplinary differences in how researchers use the microblogging site Twitter. Tweets from selected researchers in ten disciplines (astrophysics, biochemistry, digital humanities, economics, history of science, cheminformatics, cognitive science, drug discovery, social network analysis, and sociology) were collected and analyzed both statistically and qualitatively. The researchers tended to share more links and retweet more than the average Twitter users in earlier research and there were clear disciplinary differences in how they used Twitter. Biochemists retweeted substantially more than researchers in the other disciplines. Researchers in digital humanities and cognitive science used Twitter more for conversations, while researchers in economics shared the most links. Finally, whilst researchers in biochemistry, astrophysics, cheminformatics and digital humanities seemed to use Twitter for scholarly communication, scientific use of Twitter in economics, sociology and history of science appeared to be marginal.


Scholarly communication Twitter Disciplinary differences Webometrics Altmetrics