A Study of SocMed in SciComs

Kristin: In November I attended a communications stakeholders meeting comprising representatives from science and research institutions from around Australia. It struck me that again that different organsiations have different goals in undertaking science communications. And then it struck me, that while I am an avid and open user of Twitter, was it also that corporate Twitter accounts needed to have an identifiable personality, someone to connect with? What were good social media practices for science organisations?

This tweet triggered a conversation amongst the science communication crow on Twitter list which led to this:

Will Grant (@willozap) then set up a Google spreadsheet and @nwynn, @ScientistMags, @mjberryman, @matt_levinson, @cobismith and @ben_hr started to contribute by gathering evidence of science and research organisations and their participation in social media (focused on Twitter and Facebook). We’d kick-started a research project including data collection over Twitter and in less than 3 hours.

Since then, information has been gradually added to the site and Will and I have had further discussions over beer and Skype to think further about what this research project might investigate and how it might be helpful. We’ve also been thinking about appropriate channels for publication and participation.

Our study will explore why  science and research organisations (universities, research instituions, museums, government bodies and others) participate in social media. We will interview them and collect data illustrating how they participate to see whether there are good practices that can be shared. Outputs will include a journal paper, as well as informing blogs, presentations and workshops.

We will undertake the research over the next 3 months. In doing this, we’ll have the added benefit of testing the effectiveness of collaborative research networks formed via Twitter.

You are welcome and encouraged to participate. The terms of participation are as follows:

  • The journal paper will be co-authored by Kristin Alford & Will Grant
  • Anyone can participate by adding data to the collaborative spreadsheet and you will be credited with an acknowledgement in the paper.
  • Participants are welcome to use the data and findings to inform their own research and commercial work.

If you’re happy with this and want to take part, email Will Grant and he can link you to the spreadsheet. If you’d like to participate and want to be more involved in the process and journal-writing, also email Will Grant and we can work out something together.


  1. Hi, is there any way of getting viewing access of that spreadsheet containing links to case studies? I’m on the hunt for this type of case studies.

  2. Hi Sarit,
    You can email email Dr Will J Grant and he can add you to the shared spreadsheet if you provide some background details. If you have further examples of case studies, I’d be interested in hearing about them too.


  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Will Grant, Kristin Alford, Kristin Alford, Kristin Alford, Kristin Alford and others. Kristin Alford said: @willozap it's up! #scicom #socmed intro: http://bit.ly/hoZEiR […]

  2. […] Study: Dr Will Grant on Long Conversations We are working with Will on a study of good practice use of social media by science and research organisations for science communication and so I was aware of Will’s project called the Long Conversations. This project brings […]

  3. […] Hence the #scicom #socmed research project we are doing with Dr Will Grant at ANU to look at good practices in social media for sicence and […]

  4. […] Earlier in the year, we started a research study on science and social media with Dr Will Grant of the Centre for Public Appreciation of Science at ANU. The purpose of this […]

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