Several months ago I blogged about Priem & Costello's t-citings paper "How and why scholars cite on Twitter". Now Weller, Dröge & Puschmann have done further research about the subject, by analyzing tweets from two major scientific conferences.
They collected tweets from the World Wide Web conference 2010 (WWW2010, #www2010) and the Modern Language Association Conference 2009 (MLA09, #mla09), starting two weeks before each conference and ending two weeks after.
Weller, K., Dröge, E., & Puschmann, C. (2011). citation analysis on twitter MSM2011 - 1st Workshop on making sense of Microposts, 1-12
WWW2010 Vs. MLA09
The authors considered tweets with links to websites as external citations. URLs were classified into the following categories:
- Blog: Blog posts/commentaries in personal websites
- Conference: Official conference websited
- Error: Bad URL
- Media: Photos, videos, graphics, etc.
- Press: non-scientific publications from newspapers, journals, etc.
- Project: Official websites of research groups, scientific projects or project results
- Publication: Scholarly publications
- Slides: Presentation slides
- Twitter: In-Twitter links or Twitter-related sites
- Other: Everything that didn't fit into the categories above.
Almost 40% (39.85%) of the WWW2010 tweets included URLs, and more than a quarter (27.22%) of the MLA09 tweets had URLs.
Tweets classified into categories:
Participants of MLA09 preferred linking to blogs and press articles, while the WWW2010 participants preferred various media items and blogs. The WWW2010 number of links to presentations and publications was much higher than the number of those in MLA09, which had zero slides linked and only 3 unique publication URLs.
Retweets: Bora Z wins the WWW!
Counting retweets can be problematic, since they don't always start with RT @user. The authors had to manually classify tweets to locate the retweets. In both conferences the top retwitteres weren't retweeted often themselves.
Top retweets usually include URLs:
While this work is interesting, it's definitely preliminary. The authors promise to analyze citation patterns over time, study differences between disciplines and more in the future. I hope we'll see more research about those subjects soon.