The purpose of this paper is to provide a comprehensive understanding of scholarly discussions of academic publications on the social web and to further discuss the validity of altmetrics as a research impact assessment tool for academic articles.
Facebook posts citing psychological journal papers were collected for both quantitative and qualitative analyses. A content analysis approach was adopted to investigate topic preferences and motivations for scholarly discussions among academic and non-academic Facebook users.
Non-academic users were more actively engaged in scholarly discussions on Facebook than academic users. Among 1,711 Facebook users in the sample, 71.4 percent of them belonged to non-academic users, while 28.6 percent were from an academic background. The Facebook users cited psychological articles with various motivations: discussion and evaluation toward articles (20.4 percent), application to real life practices (16.5 percent), self-promotion (6.4 percent), and data source exchange (6.0 percent). However, nearly half of the posts (50.1 percent) were simply sharing articles without additional user comments. These results implicate that Facebook metric (a count of mentions of a research article on Facebook), as an important source of altmetrics, better reflects the attitudes or perceptions of the general public instead of academia.
This study contributes to the literature by enriching the understanding of Facebook metric as an academic and non-academic impact assessment tool for scientific publication. Through the content analysis of Facebook posts, it also draws insights into the ways in which non-academic audiences are engaging with scholarly outputs.
Na, J.-C. and Ye, Y.E. (2017), "Content analysis of scholarly discussions of psychological academic articles on Facebook", Online Information Review, Vol. 41 No. 3, pp. 337-353. https://doi.org/10.1108/OIR-02-2016-0058
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