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Chapter 9 Assessing the Impact of Online Academic Videos

Social Information Research

ISBN: 978-1-78052-832-8, eISBN: 978-1-78052-833-5

Publication date: 4 October 2012


Purpose – The web provides scholars with mechanisms to publish new types of outputs, including videos. Little is known about which scholarly videos are successful, however, and whether their impact can be measured to give appropriate credit to their creators. This article examines online academic videos to discover which types are popular and whether view counts could be used to judge their value.

Methodology/approach – The study uses a content analysis of YouTube videos tweeted by academics: one random sample and one popular sample.

Findings – The results show that the most popular videos produced by identifiable academics are those aimed at a general audience and which are edited rather than having a simple format. It seems that the audience for typical academic videos is so small that video production in most cases cannot be justified in terms of viewer numbers alone.

Practical implications – For the typical scholar, videos should be produced for niche audiences to support other activities rather than as an end in themselves. For dissemination videos, in contrast, view counts can be used as a good indicator of failure or popularity, although translating popularity into impact is not straightforward.



Thelwall, M., Kousha, K., Weller, K. and Puschmann, C. (2012), "Chapter 9 Assessing the Impact of Online Academic Videos", Widén, G. and Holmberg, K. (Ed.) Social Information Research (Library and Information Science, Vol. 5), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 195-213.



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Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited