, Volume 101, Issue 2, pp 1027–1042 | Cite as

Disciplinary differences in Twitter scholarly communication

  • Kim Holmberg
  • Mike Thelwall


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 



This research was supported by the Digging into Data international funding initiative through Jisc in the United Kingdom. Parts of the results were presented at the 14th International Society for Scientometrics and Informetrics conference 2013, in Vienna, Austria, and at the ASIS&T European Workshop 2013, in Turku, Finland. Thank you to Andrew Tsou for help with coding the tweets.


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Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Mathematics and Computer ScienceUniversity of WolverhamptonWolverhamptonUK

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