January 19, 2022

Conference Paper: “Scholars on Twitter: Who and How Many are They?”

The following conference paper was recently deposited by the authors in arXiv.

The paper was presented at the 16th International Conference on Scientometrics & Informetrics held on October 16-20, 2017 in Wuhan, China.


Scholars on Twitter: Who and How Many are They?


Rodrigo Costas
Leiden University (Netherlands)
Stellenbosch University (South Africa)

Jeroen van Honk
Leiden University (Netherlands)

Thomas Franssen
Leiden University 


via arXiv


In this paper we present a novel methodology for identifying scholars with a Twitter account. By combining bibliometric data from Web of Science and Twitter users identified by Altmetric.com we have obtained the largest set of individual scholars matched with Twitter users made so far.

Our methodology consists of a combination of matching algorithms, considering different linguistic elements of both author names and Twitter names; followed by a rule-based scoring system that weights the common occurrence of several elements related with the names, individual elements and activities of both Twitter users and scholars matched.

Our results indicate that about 2% of the overall population of scholars in the Web of Science is active on Twitter. By domain we find a strong presence of researchers from the Social Sciences and the Humanities. Natural Sciences is the domain with the lowest level of scholars on Twitter.

Researchers on Twitter also tend to be younger than those that are not on Twitter. As this is a bibliometric-based approach, it is important to highlight the reliance of the method on the number of publications produced and tweeted by the scholars, thus the share of scholars on Twitter ranges between 1% and 5% depending on their level of productivity. Further research is suggested in order to improve and expand the methodology.

Direct to Full Text Paper (12 pages; PDF)


About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.