Dissemination of scholarly literature in social media

<p>Social media data have been increasingly used to assess the impact of scholarly research. Such data provide complementary metrics (often called altmetrics) to traditional impact indicators. This paper provides a summary on the diffusion of scholarly content in social media, based on a collection of tweets citing papers from a set of 27 academic publishers within various fields between 2011 and 2013. We first show that there has been an increasing adoption of Twitter as a channel to disseminate scholarly literature. In particular, between 2012 and 2013, the number of scholarly tweets and the fraction of tweets (over the entire corpus) have increased by 91.2% and 42.6% respectively. We then analyze the structure of the information diffusion network. We show that the distributions of the numbers of times a specific paper is tweeted, retweeted, and the number of connected components in the diffusion network are scale-free. These preliminary results suggest that, as for other kinds of information, there are underlying mechanisms that lead some scholars and their products to become viral.</p>