How do academic topics shift across altmetric sources? A case study of the research area of Big Data

03/23/2020 ∙ by Xiaozan Lyu, et al. ∙ 0

Taking the research area of Big Data as a case study, we propose an approach for exploring how academic topics shift through the interactions among audiences across different altmetric sources. Data used is obtained from Web of Science (WoS) and Altmetric.com, with a focus on Blog, News, Policy, Wikipedia, and Twitter. Author keywords from publications and terms from online events are extracted as the main topics of the publications and the online discussion of their audiences at Altmetric. Different measures are applied to determine the (dis)similarities between the topics put forward by the publication authors and those by the online audiences. Results show that overall there are substantial differences between the two sets of topics around Big Data scientific research. The main exception is Twitter, where high-frequency hashtags in tweets have a stronger concordance with the author keywords in publications. Among the online communities, Blogs and News show a strong similarity in the terms commonly used, while Policy documents and Wikipedia articles exhibit the strongest dissimilarity in considering and interpreting Big Data related research. Specifically, the audiences not only focus on more easy-to-understand academic topics related to social or general issues, but also extend them to a broader range of topics in their online discussions. This study lays the foundations for further investigations about the role of online audiences in the transformation of academic topics across altmetric sources, and the degree of concern and reception of scholarly contents by online communities.

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