Does the public discuss other topics on climate change than researchers? A comparison of networks based on author keywords and hashtags

10/17/2018 ∙ by Robin Haunschild, et al. ∙ 0

Twitter accounts have already been used in many scientometrics studies, but the meaningfulness of the data for societal impact measurements in research evaluation has been questioned. Earlier research has compared social media counts with citations. We explore a novel network approach in which we compare author keywords to Twitter hashtags as indicators of topics. We analyze the topics of tweeted publications and compare them with the topics of all publications (tweeted and not tweeted). Our study is based on a comprehensive publication set of climate change research. We are interested in whether Twitter data are able to reveal topics of public discussions which can be separated from research-focused topics. We find that the most tweeted topics regarding climate change research focus on consequences for humans due to climate change. Twitter users are interested in climate change publications which forecast effects of a changing climate on the agricultural sector. This includes food production and conservation of forests. The networks based on the author keywords in both tweeted and not tweeted papers are broader oriented. Overall, our results show that publications using scientific jargon are less likely to be tweeted than publications using more general keywords. Our results do not support the use of Twitter counts for research evaluation purposes. However, publications that are tweeted can clearly be distinguished from publications that are not tweeted. Furthermore, the Twitter networks can be used to visualize public discussions about specific topics.

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