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Researchers’ attitudes towards the use of social networking sites

Elke Greifeneder (Berlin School of Library and Information Science, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Berlin, Germany)
Sheila Pontis (UCL Interaction Centre, University College London, London, UK)
Ann Blandford (UCL Interaction Centre, University College London, London, UK)
Hesham Attalla (Elsevier B.V., Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
David Neal (Elsevier B.V., Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
Kirsten Schlebbe (Berlin School of Library and Information Science, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Berlin, Germany)

Journal of Documentation

ISSN: 0022-0418

Article publication date: 8 January 2018

3176

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to better understand why many researchers do not have a profile on social networking sites (SNS), and whether this is the result of conscious decisions.

Design/methodology/approach

Thematic analysis was conducted on a large qualitative data set from researchers across three levels of seniority, four countries and four disciplines to explore their attitudes toward and experiences with SNS.

Findings

The study found much greater scepticism toward adopting SNS than previously reported. Reasons behind researchers’ scepticism range from SNS being unimportant for their work to not belonging to their culture or habits. Some even felt that a profile presented people negatively and might harm their career. These concerns were mostly expressed by junior and midlevel researchers, showing that the largest opponents to SNS may unexpectedly be younger researchers.

Research limitations/implications

A limitation of this study was that the authors did not conduct the interviews, and therefore reframing or adding questions to specifically unpack comments related to attitudes, feelings or the use of SNS in academia was not possible.

Originality/value

By studying implicit attitudes and experiences, this study shows that instead of being ignorant of SNS profiles, some researchers actively opt for a non-use of profiles on SNS.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors are grateful to all participants in the study, and to those who conducted the interviews across all sites. The analysis has been completed by the authors. This study was funded by Elsevier B.V.

Citation

Greifeneder, E., Pontis, S., Blandford, A., Attalla, H., Neal, D. and Schlebbe, K. (2018), "Researchers’ attitudes towards the use of social networking sites", Journal of Documentation, Vol. 74 No. 1, pp. 119-136. https://doi.org/10.1108/JD-04-2017-0051

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

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